Staff, councillors, party supporters and journalists have all gathered at the Northgate Arena for the third time in as many days as the fate of Cheshire West and Chester Council hangs in the balance.

Yesterday (Friday, May 8), a nine-hour count at the leisure centre ended dramatically when it was suspended overnight with just one ward to be decided.

With the Tory and Labour parties having gained 36 seats each – and one Independent – a recount has been ordered in Chester’s two-seat Newton ward.

This will take place today (Saturday, May 9) at the Northgate Arena count centre at 2pm.

The Labour Party is convinced they have won the Newton seats and will be able to take control of the previously Tory-run authority.

The ballot boxes for Newton were sealed and were guarded by security staff overnight along with the boxes from the parish elections which will also be declared this afternoon.

Current council leader Mike Jones and Labour group leader Samantha Dixon held their Tattenhall and Chester City seats respectively. But Cllr Dixon will be hoping to end this afternoon as the leader of what will be a very different looking CWaC.

The previous composition of Cheshire West and Chester Council was 42 Conservative, 32 Labour, 1 Lib Dem. The current composition of the new council is 36 Labour, 36 Conservatives, one Independent with two seats still to be declared.

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