1. ITV Report

Phil's election blog

The Tories will be disappointed not to take control of Weymouth and Portland. They needed a net gain of three to take power, and were hopeful of taking seats from the LibDems. Instead the Tories and the LibDems both lost two seats - to Labour. The council remains hung with no party having overall control.

Castle Point in Essex has long been a rather unusual council - basically, it's a Tory stronghold with strong representation from Independents. And tonight proof that nothing changes there! Before tonight there were 25 Conservatives and 16 independents. And, after a fierce election campaign, that's exactly how the council remains. No change in Castle point.

Labour have won two seats on Havant Council - one from the Tories and one from the Lib Dems. Before tonight, there were no Labour councillors there. So, a minor triumph for Labour - but the Tories still remain very much in charge. The council in the area represented in Parliament by universities minister David Willetts remains rock-solid Tory.

Labour seem to have won control of Southampton - no big surprise, but a big relief for their leader Ed Miliband. He travelled to Southampton in the campaign, and made it clear victory there was symbolically very important for Labour - to prove they can win in the south. The city kept its two Labour MPs - just - at the last general election, but the Tories have been in control of the council. The Tories were in a sense unlucky that almost all the seats up for grabs tonight - 14 out of 16 - were held by them. So they knew they were vulnerable to a Labour surge. But it is a great night for Labour in Southampton. And whatever other victories Ed Miliband has tonight, there won't be many that please him more than this one.

Labour have gained three seats from the Conservatives - in David Cameron's own back yard. Before tonight there was just one Labour councillor on the Prime Minister's local council in West Oxfordshire. Now there are four. A small advance for Labour there, but their new councillors will still feel a bit lonely. In the new council, the Tories outnumber them ten to one. New make-up: Con 41 Lab 4 Lib Dem 4.

News that the LibDems have kept control of Portsmouth will come as a high relief to the party's high command. It's one of their flagship councils - but was looking vulnerable. A net loss of just three seats would have meant them losing control. A net gain of five for the Tories would have seen them take charge. The LibDems hope that success in Portsmouth is a sign that however bad the national opinion polls look for them at the moment, they can still do well in their traditional strongholds. Portsmouth is another example of a council which before tonight looked like a straight Con v LibDem fight. And the LibDems have held on.

The count at Portsmouth Credit: Meridian

It's a big election night in south Essex. The main attention will be on Thurrock which Labour hope to gain. In nearby Southend, the Tories have lost control - but only just. They lost two seats to Labour, and one to an independent. New council: Con 25, Lib Dem 10, Independents 10, labour 6.

A miserable election for the Lib Dems in Oxford, which has traditionally been a strong area for them. Tonight they lost 2 seats to Labour, who easily retain control of the council. The Lib Dems also lost a seat to the Greens. New council: Lab 29, Lib Dem 13, Greens 5, Independents 1

Labour have triumphed in Thurrock - their top target in the eastern part of the Meridian region. It would have been a major shock if they hadn't - they needed a net gain of just 2 seats. In the end, the Tories lost three seats - 2 to Labour, and one to UKIP, who now have their first ever councillor in Thurrock. Labour will obviously be pleased to have won - but they might have hoped to win a bit more convincingly. New council: Lab 26 Con 20 Independents 2 UKIP 1

The Lib Dems were always going to hold onto Eastleigh. The only question was whether their performance might be dented by the negative publicity which has surrounded the area's Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne. Not at all. In fact, the LibDems emerge from this election strengthened - having gained two seats from independents. Eastleigh Council remains a formidable LibDem stronghold. New council: Lib Dem 40, Con 4.

Confirmation of a great night for the Libdems in Portsmouth - they gained 3 seats from the Conservatives. Labour also gained 2 from the Tories.New council: Lib Dem 26, Con 12, Lab 4. Very bad for the Tories. I suspect this result confirms an eternal truth about local elections: the story is always complicated, the swings are never uniform, and the parties' performances can vary greatly from place to place. But the LibDems will be dancing in the streets of Portsmouth tonight.

Conservatives in Maidstone will be breathing a sigh of relief tonight after they easily held onto control of Maidstone Council. They kept all the seats they were defending. The LibDems lost 2 seats - 1 to Labour and 1 to an independent. New council: Con 30, LibDem 19, Independents 5, Lab 1

Labour easily won the battle of Hastings - retaining control of the council, and gaining five seats in the process. They took four from the Conservatives, and also displaced the council's only Lib Dem councillor. A great result for Labour, another sign that they are making progress in many of the areas where they lost MPs at the last general election. New council: Lab 22 Con 10

The word 'landslide' is over-used in elections, but that's what happened in Southampton. The Tories were defending 14 seats, and lost 10 to Labour. Labour have also won a seat from the Lib Dems. This was one of Labour's top target councils. The Conservatives were defending a controversial record of council cuts, and partly because of the seats that were being contested, they knew the council was vulnerable. Labour have swept them away. New council: Lab 30, Con 16, Lib Dem 2.

The situation so far: Labour have taken two councils from the Conservatives, Thurrock and Southampton. They have taken control in Reading. Labour have also strengthened their hold on the councils they already controlled, Oxford and Hastings. The Liberal Democrats have strengthened their hold on Portsmouth and Eastleigh. The Conservatives have lost control of Hart, but they have retained Maidstone.

Labour, who have run Reading with a minority, now have overall control of the council. They gained 4 seats and the Greens gained 1. The Tories and the LibDems lost 2 each, and an independent lost as well. This was one of Labour's top targets. As in Southampton, Labour needed to win here to give some credibility to their claim to be making a comeback in the south. Not all across the south, of course. Large swathes of our region remain no-go areas for Labour. But tonight they have made progress in many of the areas where they need to win seats at the next general election: Reading, Southampton, Oxford, Hastings and Thurrock.

Winchester is always one of the most exciting local election battlegrounds. Before tonight, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems were neck and neck. They might be coalition partners nationally, but locally there's no love lost between the two parties. Tonight, the Tories have triumphed...by a whisker. They gained 2 seats. Labour also gained a seat. The Libdems lost 2, and an independent also lost. The Conservatives will be delighted: a rare council gain for them on a night of losses elsewhere. A bitter blow for the Lib Dems - on a night when they've done really well elsewhere in Hampshire, in Portsmouth and Eastleigh. New council: Con 29, Lib Dem 25, Lab 2, Independent 1....so the Tories scrape home.

Basingstoke and Deane was one of the few councils being fought on completely new boundaries this time round, and the Conservatives have kept control. Labour gained three seats. The Tories and the Lib Dems lost two each, but the Tories stay in charge. New council: Con 32, Lab 14, LibDem 11, Independents 3

The situation so far: A stunning performance by Labour in Southampton. They've taken control of the council from the Conservatives. Labour have also taken control of Reading and Thurrock. The Conservatives have gained overall control of Winchester, but they have lost control of Hart and Southend. The Lib Dems have retained control of Portsmouth and Eastleigh. Labour have increased their majorities in Hastings and Oxford. As usual on local election night, there's something for everyone here. Overall though Labour will be the happiest - they've won in the areas where they needed to win. The Lib Dems will be the most relieved (although not in Winchester). As for the Tories, they've lost lots of council seats but retained control of most of the councils they were defending. They know it could have been a lot worse, and that gain in Winchester will cheer them up no end.