A SOUTHAMPTON MP said the city is set for "a change of direction" as the Conservatives have won control of the city council.

Royston Smith, the Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen, hailed the results of this year's elections which have seen the Tories taking back control of the council after nine years.

It comes as they gained seven of the 16 seats up for grabs.

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After the declaration of the final results, Mr Smith said: "It's a really good day for Southampton and it's a really good day for the Conservatives.

"It's going to be a change of direction. We are going to get some of those ridiculous cycle lanes out and free up our roads, get our economy moving again, we are going to fix potholes, mend the roads, clean the place up .

"We are going to try and keep council tax much lower. There's lots to do and I know that the new leader of the council is going to get on and make all these things a reality quickly."

The Conservatives now hold 25 of the 48 seats at the city council while Labour - which previously held 30 seats - now holds 23.

Mr Smith said this year's results are not a surprise.

He added: "If I am honest I think I was expecting them. The Prime Minister is very popular and people are confident. We've done a great job with the vaccine programme.

"The more people I've spoken to the more these results became obvious but don't downplay at all what everyone has done to make it a reality. Our guys have worked exceptionally hard and have been all the way through the pandemic."

It comes as former leader of the council, Cllr Christopher Hammond, also said that "national circumstances" and the "vaccine bounce" had an impact of the outcome of this year's elections in Southampton.