Victory for Labour in Norwich

Labour will continue to run Norwich City Council after a good election night for them saw the party tighten its grip on City Hall – by holding all six of its seats and winning a further one.

The last of the results in the city council elections came through just before 2.30am today, with Labour holding 16 seats on the council, the Green Party 14, the Liberal Democrats five and the Conservatives just four.

The biggest shock was in Bowthorpe, where former Conservative group leader Antony Little lost his seat to Labour's Jo Storie by just 46 votes.

And the Green Party gained Thorpe Hamlet from the Liberal Democrats, with Lesley Grahame's 859 votes placing her well ahead of the other three candidates.

On a good night for Labour, former executive members Bert Bremner and Sue Sands retained their seats in University ward and Sewell ward respectively, with 1,164 votes and 792 votes.

Elsewhere, Crome was held by Jenny Lay with 1,085 votes and Catton Grove by Julie Westmacott with 835.

Lakenham will continue to be represented by Labour, now under Victoria MacDonald who secured 899 votes, while Mile Cross will be represented by Viv Thomas who brought in 797 votes, almost 350 clear of the Liberal Democrats in second place.

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As well as gaining Thorpe Hamlet from the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party also retained the four seats they had already held - Town Close, Nelson, Wensum and Mancroft - taking their tally at City Hall to 14.

That means Norwich has the highest number of Green councillors of any local authority in the country - although the party missed out on their goal of taking control.

But it was a disappointing night for the Liberal Democrats, with their share of the vote well down, although they managed to retain Eaton - with James Wright elected to that ward to replace former group leader Brian Watkins.

The Conservatives, having lost in Bowthorpe, were also disappointed that they failed to take Catton Grove, where they had hoped to make it a full house of three Tory councillors.

Steve Morphew, Labour leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'I am very pleased with the result. It is great to finish with an even larger group.

'I consider it a vote of confidence in the Labour administration. It wasn't just that we won a further seat and held on to what we had, but we also strengthened our positions in some of the other wards.

'The Greens failed, yet again, to make the breakthrough that they were spinning before these elections.'

The polls closed at 10pm yesterday and the ballot boxes were counted at St Andrew's Hall in Norwich.

People had the chance to vote in every ward in Norwich – with 13 seats up for grabs.

The election was triggered when a judge quashed the city's bid to become a unitary council and forced 13 councillors to stand down immediately.

Elections in those seats should have taken place last May, but the councillors had their terms of office extended by a year so they could oversee the switch to unitary.

But when the bid was thwarted it meant they had to stand down straight away – hence yesterday's elections at an unusual time of year.

Before those 13 were forced out, the make-up of the council was Labour 15, Greens 13, Liberal Democrats six and Conservatives five - with Labour running the council as a minority administration.