SOUTHAMPTON City Council turned into a deeper shade of red as the Labour party strengthened its overall majority on the authority.

It was a night of celebration at the count in the city as Labour gained three new seats with deputy council leader Jacqui Rayment and cabinet member for homes and culture Satvir Kaur being re-elected in the Bevois ward and Shirley ward respectively.

Conservative leader Dan Fitzhenry also held his Harefield ward seat but his party gained two seats and lost three.

Throughout the night many candidates pointed out the low turn out and an increase in the number of votes the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party gained in this year’s local elections in the city.

Everyone agreed Brexit had a significant impact on the results and many said residents seemed to be “fed up with politics”.

The Labour party gained the Coxford ward and Redbridge ward seats which were held by independents, leaving Cllr Tammy Thomas (Coxford ward) as the only independent councillor on the city council.

Cllr Rayment said they were expecting to win the Redbridge ward seat and added: “I think we had a very great night for Labour. We’ll have a series of meetings in the next few days, next week we’ll have our AGM and then we’ll start to announce some of the things that we planned to take forward.”

Candidates highlighted the increase in the number of votes received by other parties, saying that had an impact on the overall results.

Cllr Fitzhenry said: “The Liberal Democrats have campaigned hard, the Green Party have a lot of exposure around the clean air issues in Southampton  and people probably felt that they wanted to take a choice for the non-traditional parties. Considering the situation and the national picture we had a very good night. Our vote was hold strong and has increased our majority in some areas and we reduced Labour’s majority in other areas and that’s the key thing for us. Labour are at the peak of their gaining, next year they are defending a large number of seats and we will be going to target those seats and focusing on winning more seats on our pursuit of taking control of the council.”

The results mean that Labour now have 29, Tories 18 and Independent one seats on the 48- member city council.

As reported, a third of the council was up for elections with 16 seats up for grabs. 

Labour maintain overall control.