The Conservatives had cause to celebrate in Fareham as they increased their majority on the council.

The party has held power in the borough since 1999 and managed to gain a seat in this year’s local elections in a surprise victory in Fareham North West.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Eric Dunn had stood down in the ward and Lib Dem candidate Jim Palmer was beaten by a majority of just 26 by Conservative David Whittingham.

There was also a close call in the Stubbington ward, where UKIP candidate Christopher Wood nearly took a seat from Conservative councillor Kay Mandry, having gained 833 votes to her 940.

But overall, Conservative council leader Sean Woodward said the results were better than the party had expected – bringing their total number of seats to 24.

He said: “It’s a fantastic result.

“I had a real hope we would keep all our seats and we’ve done that and to gain one in Fareham North West is just the icing on the cake.

“I think the key is we work throughout the year - we don’t just work at election time and it really does pay dividends.”

Councillor Jim Forrest, who is group chairman for the Liberal Democrats, said it had been a disappointing night.

The party now has six seats on the council.

He said: “It makes it harder to put up an effective opposition to an arrogant and complacent Conservative council.”

The overall turnout in the borough was 33.21 per cent.