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Last Updated: Friday, 6 May, 2005, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
Tories retain control of councils
A vote being placed in a ballot box
The county council votes were counted the day after the election
The Conservatives have held on to power in all the county council areas in the South East which have been holding local elections.

The party strengthened its hold in Kent, East and West Sussex and Surrey, retaining a significant majority.

Leader of Kent County Council, Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, said it was "a great privilege" for him to lead a Conservative administration again.

He said the council clearly had a responsibility on local issues.

"When I took over we were a poor performing council, and through the terrific work of the staff we've become an excellent one," he told BBC Radio Kent.

Boundary changes

The final figures for the council were Conservatives 57, Labour 21 and the Liberal Democrats six.

In East Sussex, the new council is made up of Conservatives 29, Liberal Democrats 14, Labour five, and Independent one.

Forty-nine councillors were elected in total - five more than previously due to changes in electoral boundaries.

The composition of the 70 seats in West Sussex is now Conservative 46, Liberal Democrat 17, and Labour seven.

Among the casualties were councillor Nick Rodgers, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group (standing in Goring and Northbrook, Worthing) Conservative councillor Graham Tyler, (standing in Littlehampton East) and Conservative Tony Dignum (Chichester South).

Gains and losses

County council leader Henry Smith stood as Conservative parliamentary candidate for Crawley, but lost out to Labour's Laura Moffat by just 37 votes.

In Surrey, 80 seats (increased from 76 due to boundary changes) were contested, with the Conservatives holding 58 of them, eight more than previously.

The Conservative majority on the council is now 36 seats, with the party now controlling 73% of county council seats, up from 62% in the 2001 elections.

In addition, Labour has two seats, with the Liberal Democrats having 12, and eight going to Independent/Residents' Associations.

High profile gains and losses included the Conservatives taking two seats from Labour in the Reigate area, with Lynn Hack ousting Chris Booton in Earlswood and Reigate South, while Tory colleague Susan King took the Redhill seat from Labour's John Barton.



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