Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 19:10 UK

Labour suffers in its heartlands

Newport shopping street
Newport was the last south Wales council Labour lost

Labour has lost control of Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Newport councils in its south east Wales heartlands.

In Newport, the last council to declare in Wales, the party lost eight seats to Conservatives and the Lib Dems.

However, Labour gained control of Bridgend after striking a deal with two independent councillors.

The Lib Dems broke through in Merthyr and were also Cardiff's largest group. Tories gained the Vale of Glamorgan.

In Blaenau Gwent, Labour lost its majority, which had been slim after a number of its councillors defected to the independent grouping.

People's Voice, the independent group created by the late former Labour MP Peter Law, won its first council seats.

Independents gained three seats in Merthyr, leaving Labour - which lost nine - with eight.

The town has been the scene of a row over an open-cast mine, opposed by many local residents.

WHO RAN COUNCILS IN THE SOUTH EAST BEFORE THE ELECTION
Blaenau Gwent: Labour
Bridgend: Liberal Democrat / Conservative / Plaid Cymru / Independent
Caerphilly: Labour
Cardiff: Liberal Democrat
Merthyr: Labour / Independent
Monmouth: Conservative
Neath Port Talbot: Labour
Newport: Labour
Rhondda Cynon Taf: Labour
Torfaen: Labour
Vale of Glamorgan: Labour / Plaid Cymru / Independent
Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy said Labour's defeat in Torfaen , his constituency, and other parts of south Wales was "very disappointing".

He told BBC Radio Wales: "We have to listen to what the people have told us and their concerns about certain things. We have to redouble our efforts."

The Lib Dems strengthened their position as the largest party in Cardiff with Labour becoming the third party behind the Conservatives. When the county of Cardiff was created in 1999 Labour had 50 councillors: now it has 13.

Labour lost nine seats in Caerphilly, including the group's deputy leader Gwyn Price, taking the council to no overall control.

Plaid Cymru had hoped to regain the council, but won 32 seats, the same number as Labour.

One of the party's new councillors is Lynne Hughes, the wife of the newly-elected Machen ward councillor Ron Davies, the former Labour Welsh Secretary now standing as an independent.

The Conservatives held Monmouthshire and gained the Vale of Glamorgan, where party leader David Cameron made an impromptu visit on Friday morning.

A recount in Bridgend saw Labour emerge with half the authority's 54 seats and regain control from a Lib Dem-led administration.

The count had been delayed because of a mix-up of ballot papers between community and county council boxes.

This problem followed major problems with the counting procedures in Bridgend in 2004.

Later it was confirmed that Labour has done a deal with two independents to take control of the authority

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Voters in Wales reflect on Labour's losses




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Owain Clarke on the results




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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