LABOUR bucked the national trend by holding onto Halton at the local government elections with an increased number of seats.
In what was a disastrous turn of events for the Conservatives, the party lost a three of its seats to Labour - a third of its entire strength - including two in its heartlands of Farnworth - which had a massive voter turnout of 67% - and Birchfield, which has never had a Labour councillor before.
The third Tory seat to fall was Ditton, with Colin Rowan losing out to Joe Roberts.
Conservative chief Peter Murray, told the Weekly News it was ‘too soon to say’ what had gone wrong for his party, but added: “We need to take stock.”
The Liberal Democrats’ national woes continued with the party losing two of its seats to Labour, including Norton North in Runcorn, and Mersey, which had been left vacant following the death from cancer last year of Lib Dem Cllr Sue Blackmore.
The only dark spot for Labour was the loss of staunch Labour territory in Kingsway to the Liberal Democrats.
The Weekly News reported recently how the current Mayor of Halton - Frank Fraser - had been left unable to contest the seat for Labour due to a paperwork mix-up, leaving it open to its main rivals.
A massive 257 votes were spoiled in the Kingsway ward, with Labour chief Tony McDermott conceding some may have been deliberately spoiled by disgruntled Labour voters.
He said: “Overall it’s a good result and I think it shows that people know we are progressing and they don’t want to get rid of a winning team.”
He added: “But it’s clear that many people were upset with what happened in Kingsway.
“It will never happen again.”
Kingsway now becomes Widnes’ first ever Liberal Democrat seat, a feat which the party’s Cllr Mike Hodgkinson said now gave them ‘a foothold’ in the town.
Overall turnout was 60% and 80% in the postal vote.
Halton Council’s previous makeup was; Labour 33, Liberal Democrat 14, and Conservative 9.
Its new makeup is; Labour 37, Liberal Democrat 13, Conservative 6.