Pictures: Labour cling to council in Telford after local elections
Labour will remain in control of Telford & Wrekin Council – despite surrendering an overall majority in a pulsating day at the polls.
After recounts, drawing of straws and hours of waiting, it went right down to the wire after six hours of drama at Telford College of Arts and Technology (TCAT) yesterday.
Labour won the most seats – 27 – but were five down on their pre-election total of 32. The party also lost one of its big-hitters in finance chief Bill McClements, just a day after seeing long-serving MP David Wright lose his seat in Telford to Tory Lucy Allan.
Following recounts in three different wards, Labour fell one short of the 28 needed to form a majority administration. It could mean tied 27-27 votes in full council on important policy matters if the Lib Dems and the Independent councillor votes with the Tories against Labour.
But party leader Kuldip Sahota said Labour still intended to lead the authority.
Mr McClements was widely regarded as the driving force behind the successful bid to bring the Ministry of Defence's logistics base to Donnington, but he missed out in The Nedge ward by just four votes. Former deputy mayor Amrit Jhawar also lost his seat for Labour.
Meanwhile the Conservatives gained seven seats to move from 16 to 23, in turn chopping Labour's pre-election majority from 16 to just four.
The Liberal Democrats managed to hold onto their three seats, while Independent Peter Scott also managed to retain his seat in Newport North & West. The other Independent – Madeley's Gill Green – lost out in the Madeley and Sutton Hill ward.
Ukip had hopes of making gains in the town – but the party failed to win a seat.