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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
Labour loses control in Plymouth
Labour Plymouth
Labour contemplate a hung council
Labour has lost its eight-seat majority in the face of Conservative triumphs on Plymouth City Council.

The Tories gained six seats, taking four from Labour, one from the Liberal Democrats and one from an independent.

The south Devon council now has 25 Conservative councillors, 28 Labour, three Lib Dems, and one seat vacant.

Conservatives also gained three seats, including two from Labour on Exeter City Council, which remains with no party in overall control.

The new council has 16 Labour seats, 11 Lib Dems, eight Conservatives, four Liberals and one is vacant.

Mayor-elect ousted

Labour has been in control at Plymouth since 2003 when it wrestled domination from the Conservatives.

Among the victims at Plymouth was Michael Fox, Labour's mayor-elect.

Conservative leader Vivien Pengelly said: "Six seats is an excellent result. A hung council means it will be extremely difficult for Labour to railroad through anything at all."

Conservatives celebrate
Conservatives celebrate the Stoke ward win in Plymouth

However, there is a by-election due in Southway ward which means Labour could win back a slim majority.

Adrian Lee, political analyst at Plymouth University, told BBC News: "The move to the Conservatives reflects the national trend, but the Conservatives were helped in several Plymouth wards by UKIP eating into the Labour vote.

"For instance in the Budshead ward there was only a small increase in the Conservative vote in what had been a relatively safe Labour seat."

The Lib Dems, who have enjoyed strong support in the South West with all Cornwall's five MPs coming from the party, had a disappointing evening in Devon, losing seats in Plymouth and Exeter.

"Plymouth is not a traditionally strong area for the party," said Mr Lee.

"There is nothing significant that has changed."

See Spotlight's report

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