Labour retain control in Preston with two gains

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Preston's Labour group maintained control of the city council on a night of few election surprises.

READ MORE: Full election results here

Election night at Preston's Guild Hall

Election night at Preston's Guild Hall

With 20 places in the council chamber up for grabs on the night, Labour took 13 seats, with gains in College and Garrison.

The results mean the composition of the city council for the next year is Labour, 35 seats, Tories, 17, Lib Dems, five.

Freddie Bailey, who turned 22 this week, won the College seat vacated by former Tory mayor Bobby Cartwright, with Labour officials claiming it is the first time the party has held a city council seat in the Fulwood area, for several decades at least.

He said: "I'm delighted. "Because I've never stood as a candidate before I tried to get out and speak to as many people as possible (on the doorsteps) and answer whatever questions they had.

"I think people have reacted to things like the Preston Model and the work the council has done. People aren't always engaged with local politics so it's good to inform them of things like the Preston Model."

Labour started the night with 22 candidates already in the 57 seat council chamber, requiring a further seven to secure a majority.

With results arriving from 12.30pm at the Guild Hall, the Labour group secured the first four wards, with the Lib Dems' Claire Craven breaking the streak in holding Cadley ward for her party.

The turnout was 30.85 per cent across the city, down from the 33 mark in 2016.

Reflecting on a sobering night for the Conservatives, leader Coun Neil Cartwright said: "It's very disappointing. We anticipated that Labour would throw a lot at us in College, they used their councillors not up for election this time round to good effect.

"We didn't have the same resources. So it didn't come as a surprise, but Garrison ward did. That was really disappointing and we've got serious thinking to do (ahead of the shake-up next year)."

This year's election is the final one under the current system with boundary changes coming into effect next year with fewer seats.

Labour's Peter Kelly, cabinet member for culture and leisure, who retained his seat in Riversway, said: "I think voters realise that we're doing the best with what we have in terms of the cuts that have been imposed on us.

"If you look across the city, things are growing and growing and people are beginning to say, 'yes' we are a city and there's lots of things to be proud of."

The Liberal Democrats held their seats in Cadley and Ingol. Coun John Potter said: "We're really happy with those two holds, it's testament to the work and service that we provide for those wards."