Tories go from largest to smallest party on council

The Conservatives have gone from being the largest party on a Hertfordshire council to the smallest, after losing nearly half of their seats.

Labour gained eight seats in Welwyn Hatfield and has become the largest party.

The slump in Tory support continued along the A1(M) corridor as they lost 10 seats at North Herts Council and eight in Stevenage.

That leaves the Tories with just one seat on Stevenage Borough Council, which continues to be Labour-led.

In Welwyn Hatfield, Labour ended up with 20 councillors, the Liberal Democrats with 16 and the Tories have 12 - having surrendered 10 seats there.

All 51 seats were up for election at North Herts Council, and Labour now has half of those - 25 - just shy of a majority.

The party is in pole position to continuing leading a minority administration.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the Labour leader of North Herts Council, Elizabeth Dennis, said the results were "testament" to changes made locally and also brought by Keir Starmer

North Herts Tory councillor Ralph Muncer said: “We have got to look at what went well on our campaign and what didn’t go so well."

He promised his group would hold the Labour and Lib Dems to account over issues such as local waste collections.

The Lib Dems strengthened their hold on Watford Borough Council by taking three further seats from Labour, giving them a total of 30 councillors.

Twelve seats were up for grabs this year and no councillors from other parties were elected.

The Tories held onto Broxbourne Borough Council, which has been under their control for 50 years.

Of the 10 seats being voted on - one third of the council - the Tories held on to nine and Labour held on to one position.

However, the Conservatives' share of the vote dropped in Broxbourne by 13 percentage points compared with 2021.

Broxbourne Labour councillor Sean Waters said the party had "narrowed the gap" in traditionally safe Conservative areas.

He added the Tories had to "work harder than they've ever worked before" and that Labour hoped to build on their results at the general election.

Conservative Jim Clune, who won a seat for the Wormley and Turnford ward, said the result showed Tories "were delivering in Broxbourne".

Jim Clune, in a navy suit and tie, wearing glasses
Conservative Jim Clune says people support his party because they believe in them [BBC]

At St Albans City and District Council, the Lib Dems maintained their huge majority with 44 councillors, although Labour poached a seat each from the Lib Dems and the Tories.

Similarly, the Lib Dems maintained a majority at Three Rivers District Council, with 21 councillors, although they lost a seat to the Green Party.

Counting and results for Hertfordshire's police and crime commissioner election are expected on Saturday.

Amy Holmes, BBC political reporter, Hertfordshire

It’s been a bad day for the Conservatives in Welwyn Hatfield.

A year ago they were the largest party and now they are the smallest after losing 10 seats.

Labour has gained the majority of those, so are now the largest party, but not with enough seats for full control.

That should mean they continue their alliance with the Lib Dems which started last May.

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