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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Tories close gap at ballot box
Ballots being counted
The Conservatives closed the gap on Labour in Brighton

The polls have thrown up some good results for the Conservative Party in Sussex.

One of the biggest upsets on Thursday was in Brighton and Hove, where Labour lost overall control.

The council is now hung after an all-postal election.

The Conservatives now have 20 seats to Labour's 24, with the Liberal Democrats winning only three to the Green Party's six.

But Labour easily held on to Crawley with candidates contesting nine out of 13 wards, only one of which was lost.

Voter turn-out

The major concern was over voter numbers, after Crawley had the lowest turn-out in the South East last time round.

Elsewhere, the elections threw up good results for the Conservatives, with the party holding on to Wealden and Rother.

The party also retained its control of Adur, extending its lead to 27 seats to Labour's eight, as well as Arun and Chichester.

But Horsham now has a hung council after the Conservative Party lost overall control.

Narrow margins

The Liberal Democrats remain in charge of Eastbourne by the narrowest of margins.

When the Conservatives gained the Old Town Ward seat, the Liberal Democrats' majority was cut to one.

The party said it was pleased to have kept hold of the council after a 38% jump in this year's council tax bill - the fourth highest in the country.

Lewes also remains in Liberal Democrat hands.

The party did less well in Worthing, however, where they lost overall control.

The result from Mid Sussex was delayed by a recount, with the Conservatives eventually holding on to power with 28 of 54 seats.

But the Liberal Democrats have said they are now planning a legal challenge over methods used to verify a close result in a seat contested by the Tory council chairman.

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