OVERALL turnout in Southampton was 29.7 per cent, slightly down on last year's 30.3 per cent but higher than the last time the seats were contested in 2004, when it was 28.0 per cent.

Lowest turnout was in the city centre Bargate ward on 16.1 per cent where Tories gained a seat from Labour.

Shirley had the highest turnout with 36.9 per cent, a Conservative hold. Second highest turnout was in Sholing with 35.3 per cent of the electorate replacing Labour leader councillor June Bridle with a Tory.

Tories polled 48 per cent of the popular vote, to Labour's 26 per cent and Lib Dem's 19 per cent.

But Dr Ken Ritchie, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society said: "The Tories did well to secure almost half of the vote, but to hand them 90 per cent of the seats is madness.

"These laments will be little comfort to more than half of voters who backed other parties and got only two councillors to show for their trouble."