Page last updated at 02:04 GMT, Friday, 5 May 2006 03:04 UK

Labour holds firm in ex-pit towns

Denis MacShane
Rotherham MP Denis MacShane welcomed the results

Labour has maintained its traditional hold over the former mining towns of Barnsley and Rotherham.

In Barnsley, it gained one seat, making its number on the council 34, despite a strong challenge by independents.

The party stretched its lead by two seats in Rotherham, which gave it 55 councillors over six Tories and two independents.

Labour's Rotherham MP Denis MacShane welcomed the party's achievement in increasing its majority on the council.

He said: "Labour MPs in Rotherham work closely with Labour councillors without bitching, backbiting or moaning about Blair."

Green gain

In nearby Sheffield, Labour held on to control of the city council, with the only change being the Lib Dems' loss of a seat to the Green Party - it now has two councillors.

Labour's Sheffield Central MP Richard Caborn said: "It's been a very good night overall in South Yorkshire.

"I think the electorate have given us a vote of confidence pretty much all across South Yorkshire."

Green Party principal speaker Caroline Lucas said: "We look set to do very well across the country.

"At this time we've already gained in Bristol, Sheffield and Stroud. Norwich is also shaping up to gain a possible four Green councillors, becoming the largest Green group in England and Wales."

Doncaster council remains under no overall control, with Labour gaining one seat from the Liberal Democrats to consolidate its position as the largest party.

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