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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Sex scandal blamed for Tory win
Mark Oaten MP
The "Oaten effect" has been blamed for the Tory win
The sex scandal involving Lib Dem MP Mark Oaten has been blamed for the Tories taking over Winchester council.

The Tories won control by winning seven seats, including that of Lib Dem leader Sheila Campbell.

When asked earlier whether the "Oaten effect" was to blame for the losses, Ms Campbell said: "That's inescapably the conclusion we are forced to."

Elsewhere, Hampshire's two unitary authorities Portsmouth and Southampton remained in no overall control.

Southampton City Council is now evenly split between the three main parties, while in Portsmouth the Liberal Democrats remain the largest single party with half of its 42 seats.

The Oaten factor has certainly been a major part in our success tonight.
Cllr George Hollingbery

Elsewhere, the Conservatives lost Gosport to no overall control after the Lib Dems took four seats.

And the Lib Dems held onto Eastleigh Borough Council as expected - and took two seats from the Tories.

Fareham, Rushmoor and Havant have remained in Conservative hands, while Hart and Basingstoke and Deane stayed in no overall control.

In Winchester, the Conservatives took five seats from the Liberal Democrats, one from Labour and one from an independent, with only one ward left to declare.

The Tories now have 28 seats on the council, with the Liberal Democrats in second with 21.

Burnt voting papers
Ballot papers caught fire in one Winchester ward

Leading Conservative city councillor George Hollingbery said: "The Oaten factor has certainly been a major part in our success tonight."

The final ward count was delayed after hot wax used to seal the ballot box set fire to the ballot papers inside.

Water was poured into the ballot box and counters had to lay the wet voting slips on paper towels to be able to count them.

After a recount, it was announced on Friday afternoon that Independent Councillor Georgina Busher had held onto her seat.

In Portsmouth, the Conservative party has strengthened its position as the second biggest party on the council after increasing its number of seats from 13 to 16.

In Southampton, where the overall turnout was 31.3% - an increase of 3.4% over the last poll in 2004 - Labour gained one seat from the Lib Dems.




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