Page last updated at 02:40 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 03:40 UK

Green Party key gains in Norwich

Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg
The three party leaders were digesting the results

The Green Party has for the first time become the main opposition group on a local authority after winning three seats on Norwich City Council.

The Greens made three gains and the Tories gained two seats, all at the expense of the Lib Dems which saw a huge drop in their vote.

The new council is made up of 15 Labour members, 13 Greens, six Lib Dems and five Conservatives

One of the Tory wins had been in Labour control for 29 years.

Labour councillor Brenda Ferris lost her seat to the Tories, after holding it since 1979.

Peter Tatchell, a national Green Party spokesman, said becoming the "official opposition" was an historic achievement.

Leader lost

He added: "I am very confident that come the next election we will overtake Labour and become the governing party in Norwich."

At Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the leader of the Labour group lost his seat as Conservatives kept control.

In the first Tory gain in Norfolk, Labour's Trevor Wainwright lost in Bradwell North to Alan Grey who polled 761 votes, winning by a margin of 48.

The Tories gained one further seat from Labour, to consolidate their hold on the council.

The Conservative leader Barry Coleman held his seat, West Flegg, as did Tory mayor Paul Garrod at Yarmouth North.

Labour's Michael Jeal and Penelope Linden also held their seats.

Mr Wainwright blamed the loss of the seat on national issues.

"I was approached at the polling stations about the 10p tax. Of all the national issues that has been the biggest issue," he said.

  Councillors Councils
Party +/- Total +/- Total
CON 257 3155 12 65
LAB -334 2365 -9 18
LD 33 1804 1 12
PC 31 205 -1 0
OTH 10 898 0 0
NOC - - -3 64
159 of 159 councils declared.


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