SOUTHAMPTON turned blue as Labour lost control of the council.

The Conservatives swept back to power after nine years as they gained seven seats.

Jubilant councillors celebrated in Guildhall Square as the final results were announced this afternoon.

But tensions were running high as votes were being counted throughout the day.

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It comes as Labour retained seats in Bargate, Bevois, Freemantle, Portswood and Shirley but lost Swaythling, Woolston, Redbridge, Peartree, Millbrook and Bitterne.

The Conservatives now hold 25 of the 48 seats at Southampton City Council while Labour - which previously had a total of 30 - holds 23 seats.


Cllr Dan Fitzhenry, leader of the Conservatives, said his priority will be delivering on the manifesto's pledges.

These would include freezing council tax and removing the controversial bus lane in Bitterne Road West.

He also said among the first things he will be doing for the city will be to review the current transport plan and tackle fly-tipping.


Cllr Christopher Hammond, Labour leader and former leader of the council, described the results as a "tough set of results" and said the news came as " a bit of a surprise".

He added: "We knew we would lose some seats but obviously it is a bit of a surprise that we lost control. I think we have to reflect on these results and why what we are saying is not resonating with the people that we need to win over. National circumstances did have an impact on us. The vaccine bounce has helped the Conservatives."

Cllr Fitzhenry said: "I am so grateful to the residents who have voted for us. I am grateful and extremely excited. We aimed to win, our plan was to win seven seats to win control of the council, we won control. You never expect things in politics. I am very grateful."

Green Party candidate Katherine Barbour, who came second in Portswood, said she has gone from fourth to second in the last three local elections for Portswood and said this demonstrates that people are "very concerned about the climate and planet" and that "things need to be done differently".

Liberal Democrat Richard Blackman, who came second in Bassett, said to be disappointed.

He added: "We wanted to bring a much-needed Liberal voice to the civic centre to ensure a more diverse range of views are heard in policy-making. This will be all the more important with the Tories taking control of the council. For another year at least we will be a voice of constructive opposition from outside the council chamber."