Labour's stunning election win which swept the Tories from power in Southampton has left the city without a mayor for the first time in decades.

Voters dumped Conservative Terry Matthews from his Shirley seat in favour of Labour’s Mark Chaloner, 12 days before his year in the ceremonial role was due to end, leaving it vacant, something it is thought has only ever happened once before.

City sheriff, Labour councillor Derek Burke, has had to be drafted in to cover the mayor’s engagements – starting, appropriately enough, with the opening night of an exhibition called A Right Fine Mess at the city’s Bargate Monument Gallery.

Among the other events he will now deputise at are a circus performance, a library fun festival, a guided walk of Southampton’s Old Cemetery, entertaining Itchen College |students in the mayor’s parlour, and attending a function at the Humble Plumb pub in Bitterne.

Although not entitled to carry out any more mayoral duties, Mr Matthews will don the chains of office once more, at the annual mayor-making ceremony at Southampton Guildhall on May 16, where he will hand over the reins to his successor.