COLCHESTER Conservatives held onto every council ward they contested despite facing heavy losses in other local authorities across the country.

A bleak national picture for the Tories had raised hopes in Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Green circles that some of the 19 Conservative wards across the borough could swing in their favour.

But Conservative support held firm as Rural North, Stanway, Marks Tey and Layer, Lexden and Braiswick, Prettygate, Tiptree, and Mersea and Pyefleet all returned Tory councillors.

The outcome contrasted with national results, where Conservatives lost more than 100 councillors compared to Labour’s gain of more than 50 as of 6am on Friday morning.

Gazette: Count – volunteers await the first ballotsCount – volunteers await the first ballots (Image: Steve Brading)

Whilst Conservative support across Colchester held firm, there were mixed fortunes for Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Labour managed to gain one council ward from the Liberal Democrats after Claire Osborne saw off Mark Arnold in Shrub End.

But Labour lost Castle ward to the Greens as Steph Nissen was beaten by Kemal Cufoglu.

The results mean the Conservatives still have 19 councillors sitting in the town hall, which is the highest number out of the four parties.

The Liberal Democrats now have 15 councillors after their defeat in Shrub End, whilst Labour remain on 14 councillors.

The Greens now have three councillors, all of whom represent Castle ward.

Despite the Conservative majority, the Liberal Democrats look set to continue running the council with the minority administration they formed last year.

Conservative leader Paul Dundas, who said at the start of the night the Conservatives were looking at “some very difficult national polls” was buoyed by the results.

Gazette: Winner – the result for Rural North was the first to come in, with Darius Laws holding his position as councillorWinner – the result for Rural North was the first to come in, with Darius Laws holding his position as councillor (Image: Steve Brading)

He said: “I think we have done very well in Colchester in the circumstances.

“We have had some really good results and some areas where our majority has gone up – we fought a good campaign and people have listened to us.

“It still leaves us as the largest party but most probably with no power – that’s not the most democratic position, but that’s the situation and we have to live with it.

“A change in power would need the council leader to resign or be voted out which as far as I’m aware there’s not a majority to do that.”