1. ITV Report

Labour strengthen hold across Merseyside

Bootle Town Hall Photo:

Labour have managed to strengthen their hold across Merseyside by taking control of three of the region's contentiously fought over councils.

Knowsley is now completely controlled by the party after they took four seats from the Lib-Dems. Labour now holds all 63 seats within the council.

Labour took control of Sefton Council - the first time the borough has been controlled by a single party.

It increased its number of councillors by eight and successfully defended seven of its own seats.

Council leader Peter Dowd was unsurprised by the result. He said: ''I don't think it was a surprise to take the council. We did expect that we would take control given the message we were sending out.

Outlining the party's plans for the future, he added: ''We have got to focus most on those most vulnerable people in Sefton, given that our budget has been cut massively.

"We have also got to try to work in partnership with our colleagues in the private and public sectors in relatio nto the scourge of unemployment. How can we prepare young people to go in to th eeconomic marketplace in times of difficulty?''

"I think people have been enticed by the message that Labour's tried to get out. Ok, we have got difficult times, but it's not unreasonable to ask everybody to hold on. Ok, you're going to make cuts, why not make them as reasonable and fair as possible? That's the message we have put out and that's resonated.''

Labour also took control of Wirral after winning five seats from the Conservatives and two from the Lib Dems. They now have control of 37 seats.

How Wirral Council looks after the count Credit: ITV

Labour MP for Wallasey Angela Eagle said: ''It's been a fantastic night for the Labour party on the Wirral. We have seen a swing to the party tonight and I think that's people's verdict on this incompetent government nationally.''

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