LESS than 24 hours after winning back the Winchester parliamentary seat, the Conservatives lost control of the city council.

The Liberal Democrats led by Cllr Kelsie Learney gained five seats to hold a wafer-thin but priceless majority of one.

The Tories, led by Cllr George Beckett, had held the same narrow advantage since coming to power in 2006.

That vote came just weeks after the Mark Oaten scandal and allowed the Conservatives to capture 13 of 19 seats at the time.

Full New Winchester Results

Yesterday the Tories discovered they had taken ten seats while the Lib Dems managed nine, but it was just enough to see a change at the top.

After the count at the River Park Leisure Centre in Winchester, Cllr Learney saluted the hard work of Lib Dem party workers and activists. She said: “People have worked so hard over this election and it showed just how much Liberal Democrat support there is in Winchester.”

She added that the party would meet in the next few days to confirm its new cabinet team.

One of their priorities, she said, would be to make the district greener and reduce its carbon footprint.

“And we’ll make a start by moving George’s Jaguar out of the leader’s space so that I can put my bike there,” she added.

Cllr Beckett said: “We came to power four years ago in unusual circumstances.

“Our record in running the council has been good, but that did not seem to be recognised in this election.”

The Tories now have 26 seats, the Lib Dems 29, and there are two independent members in Bishop’s Waltham.

The defeat of Chris Pines in the St John and All Saints ward meant there are now no Labour councillors left in Winchester.