SOUTHAMPTON'S Lib Dem party has a new leader at its helm after its former supremo was ousted after 12 years.

Councillor Jill Baston will front the opposition group following the party's AGM on Saturday. Steve Sollitt has been appointed deputy.

And she's wasted no time at criticising the new ruling Tory group who swept to power after a victorious election night last week - branding their electioneering "aggressive" and claiming they played "a dirty tricks campaign".

The Lib Dems lost three seats on Thursday night -Portswood by 129 votes, Coxford by 132 votes and Peartree by 502 votes, leaving them with just eight seats. Labour have 14 while the new ruling party have 26.

Cllr Baston said: "A lot of their (Tory) literature seriously misrepresented us. They said things about our future plans which were not true - for instance plans for a fortnightly bin collection.

"They are aware that changes in waste collection are unpopular and put it out in a deliberate attempt to mislead and they misrepresented the car parking issue.

"Since the election, we have picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves down and, as an opposition group, we will be keeping a very close eye on the Conservatives."

But Tory leader Alec Samuels stood by the party's campaign and urged anyone with doubts to check the cabinet's minutes online.

He said: "Their accusations are totally unfounded. The fact they are seeking excuses in this way more than justifies the total loss of confidence which the electorate have shown in the Lib-Lab coalition."