WINCHESTER City Council is now under new leadership after this year's local election saw an end to the Tory's nine-year reign.

The count at River Park Leisure Centre gave reason to celebrate to the Lib Dems, who gained five seats from the Conservatives, and retained a further six.

But new council leader, Lucille Thompson, insists the swing was a result of the party's 'hard work and determination', and should not 'be put down to Brexit'.

She said: "It's been a long night, but I am delighted, and it has been absolutely momentous. We had more gains than anyone predicted.

"But I'm not putting this down to Brexit. I know a lot of people are saying the Conservatives face backlash over the whole situation in Westminster.

"The truth is, we have very much campaigned hard. Before I didn't feel the council listened, but we do."

Cllr Thompson added: "I want to see a change, and offer to residents what should have been offered. We want to build more affordable homes, and to provide good public services for the people."

A total of 40,317 votes were cast on May 2, with a turnout of 45.1 per cent across the district.

Former council leader, Caroline Horrill, was successful in retaining her seat on the Wonston and Micheldever ward, but expressed her disappointment over losing the council, insisting the Tories would 'come back better'.

She said: "We need to regroup and hold the Lib Dems to account. We will come back and appeal to the people of Winchester.

"It will be interesting to see what happens under the new leadership. The Lib Dems were constantly opposing us, so I wonder what will happen."

Cllr Horrill specifically questioned how the new leaders would deal with the leisure centre project which is now underway in Bar End, pointing out how the Lib Dems "consistently opposed" the plans.

The political make-up of Winchester City Council now consists of 18 seats for the Conservative Party, and 27 seats for the Lib Dems.

Cllr Thompson said: "The new structure is very exciting, and it is certainly nice to have that cushion following a very big majority."