Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Friday, 5 May 2006 10:09 UK

Lib Dems edge out rivals in polls

The headquarters of Hull City Council
Power hangs in the balance at Hull City Council

The Liberal Democrats are celebrating becoming the largest party on two hung councils on both banks of the Humber.

They gained four seats on Hull City Council and have 26 compared to Labour's 25.

North East Lincolnshire also remains a hung council with the Liberal Democrats taking a seat each from the Conservatives and Labour.

The Lib Dems now lead the Conservatives by 17 seats to 15, with Labour trailing behind with six seats.

Both councils have been troubled in recent years, with Hull only coming out of government special measures last month.

In 2005, North East Lincolnshire was dubbed the worst performing authority in England by the Audit Commission.

Carl Minns, the leader of Hull council's Lib Dems, said: "We are very pleased we are ahead of Labour but we are still four seats short of being able to form an administration."

Despite their losses, Labour leader, Ken Branson, said he was hopeful of getting enough support from Independent councillors to enable him to stay in office.

"I will be talking to the Independents," he said. "They are very close to us and we hope that from a policy perspective they will stay on board."

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