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Conservatives increase stranglehold on council





Tories increase majority to 3/4 of seats on West Berkshire Council

THE results are in and echoing a picture of national discontent for Liberal Democrat supporters the Conservatives have increased their majority in West Berkshire at the expense of their main rival.

The Conservatives now hold 39 seats to 13 Liberal Democrat seats, having gained three.

Hailing his team and thanking the electorate for what appears to be an increased voting turnout, the leader of the council Graham Jones (Con, Lambourn) said the result was a vindication for his party.

"It has been hard fought, and when I stood up here four years ago to say we had turned Newbury blue I didn't think four years later I would be saying we have turned Thatcham blue, but we have," he said.

"We have a new mandate, and will carry on working hard across the county."

Mr Jones retained his seat with a comfortable 41 per cent of the vote, as did, perhaps more surprisingly, his opposite number, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jeff Brooks (Thatcham west).

Mr Brooks said when he woke up this morning and heard the damage done to his party in areas such as Maidenhead, where the party had lost 14 seats, he feared the worst, but was delighted to be proved wrong.

"It's not been a good time nationally to be a Liberal Democrat over the last 24 hours. In Newbury our vote has held up which is positive.

"We still have 13 councillors and we will still take the Tories to task on their policies.

"Winning is not permanent, and neither is losing, giving up is, and the Liberal Democrats in West Berkshire will not give up."

Sheila Ellison and John Horton won for the Conservatives in Thatcham North, and Dominic Boeck and Roger Croft won for the party in Thatcham South and Crookham.

David Rendel, who moved from Thatcham north to fight for the Thatcham central seat, was elected, alongside Conservative candidate Richard Crumly.

As both parties now take stock of the result, the Conservatives will announce the newly formed executive board in the coming days.

For much more election news, log on to Newburytoday.co.uk next week.



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