Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 10:32 UK

Labour 'meltdown' in Flintshire

Council house ( generic)
The last council had to grapple with issues in housing

Labour has lost control of Flintshire - the only north Wales council it controlled before Thursday's election.

The party has dropped from 37 seats on the council four years ago to 22 now and is no longer the biggest group.

The Independents have 26 seats and said they are confident of forming an administration without Labour.

Labour had run the council since it was set up in 1996, with local members blaming Gordon Brown and the 10 pence tax relief for a "meltdown".

Ros Griffiths, who lost her Broughton South seat on the council, said: "It's certainly not helped local politics and that is what this election was about last night - local politics.

"National politics has certainly let us down badly."

Flintshire has been Labour-run since 1996, and in the last administration the party held half the 70 seats.

But Patrick Heesom, leader the independent group of councillors in Flintshire prior to Thursday's vote, said he is delighted that none of the political parties now hold sway.

"I think the verdict of the electorate in Flintshire is quite clear," he added.

"They want an end to the kind of party political management that Flintshire has suffered from for years.

The authority has suffered some recent difficulties, particularly on housing issues.

In 2004, the authority was ordered to pay 111,860 to a former auditor because of the way it treated him when he raised concerns over financial issues.

WHO RAN COUNCILS IN THE NORTH EAST FROM 2004 - 2008
Denbighshire: Independent / Conservative / Plaid Cymru
Flintshire:: Labour
Wrexham: Liberal Democrat-led Board

While four of the 22 seats Labour retained were uncontested, there were also a notable win for the former Labour AM for Delyn Alison Halford.

However, the former deputy chief constable for Merseyside has been elected as Conservative councillor for Ewloe on the authority.

The newly elected councillors now must strike a deal on how - and who - will run the authority.

Cllr Heesom said he already had some clear views: "It will involve independent members as the controlling group on the council and we will try to form a happy and comfortable coalition with elected members across the chamber."

However, Ros Griffiths said the Labour Party in Flintshire now faced a trying period.

"It's a big shock to us. We obviously got to try to make some sense of this whole situation as it turn out, so it's going to be a very difficult time for the next few days."



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WELSH COUNCIL ELECTIONS 2008

  Councillors Councils
Party +/- Total +/- Total
LAB -124 342 -6 2
CON 63 174 1 2
PC 31 205 -1 0
LD 21 162 0 0
OTH 9 381 0 0
NOC - - 6 18
22 of 22 councils declared.

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