The local elections in the East of England have delivered a big political blow for the Conservative party and Prime Minister Theresa May.
The Tories have lost control of several councils in the Anglia region as the Liberal Democrats bounce back after years in decline.
The Lib Dems won control of Chelmsford and North Norfolk; in the Essex county town the party overturned a huge Conservative majority.
A similar Tory majority was also wiped out in the Uttlesford area of Essex around Stansted airport where a party of local residents now has the reins of power.
The Conservatives lost their overall majority in Babergh, Basildon, North Hertfordshire, Mid Suffolk, Peterborough, Southend-on-Sea, Welwyn Hatfield, St Albans and Tendring in Essex.
The final outcome of council elections in the Anglia region are listed below
- Click below to watch a round-up of the local election in the East
The Tories were braced for a “really, really tough night” as counting was under way in the the English local council elections.
Amid voter anger at the continuing wrangling over Brexit, the Brexit Minister and Braintree MP James Cleverly suggested he would be relieved if the losses could be held to 500 council seats. Speaking on the BBC he said:
With some analysts predicting losses of 800 or more for the Tories, the results are likely to pile pressure on Theresa May at a time she is embroiled in a row over the sacking of ex-defence secretary Gavin Williamson.
The senior Tory Brexiteer MP Sir Bernard Jenkin, Harwich and North Essex, said voters overwhelmingly believed that she had “lost the plot” and that the time had come for a change of leader.
“She still has a degree of personal sympathy but I think people think it is time for a change. They can see that she has lost the plot. They can see she is not in control of events,” he told the BBC.
“Certainly among Conservative activists and council candidates there is an almost universal feeling that it is time for her to move on.”
It looks like being a good night for the Liberal Democrats as they make big gains across the country. North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb explained why he felt voters were backing his party.
Across the Anglia region nearly 1,500 councillors were being elected on 44 district, city and borough councils.
Bedford is the only district in the Anglia region with an elected mayor and the Liberal Democrat Dave Hodgson was returned for a third full time. He was first elected in a by-election in 2009.
Overall the Conservatives lost 287 councillors in the Anglia region but still by far the most council seats with a final tally of 731.
The Liberal Democrats added 131 extra councillors, with the Greens gaining 49 and Labour up 16.
There were 216 Independent and non-party aligned councillors - a rise of 57.
It comes amidst a tumultuous time in British politics, with Brexit unresolved, party defections aplenty and voters expressing discontent at mainstream party politics.
The picture in our region has changed since the last time we voted in 2015 as local election boundaries have been changed in many areas with some new councils being created in Suffolk.
Elections have been postponed by a year in Northamptonshire following the financial crisis at the county council. The two-tier council structure is being scrapped in favour of two new unitary authorities in the county.
There is a four-year local election cycle with some councils holding elections for one-third of the council and some councils holding all-out elections for the entire council.
Councils with elections in the Anglia region
- Babergh - Conservatives lose to No Overall Control
- Basildon - Conservative lose to No Overall Control
- Bedford - Remains in No Overall Control
- Braintree - Conservative hold
- Breckland - Conservative hold
- Brentwood - Conservative hold
- Broadland - Conservative hold
- Cambridge - Labour hold
- Castle Point - Conservative hold
- Central Bedfordshire- Conservative hold
- Chelmsford - Lib Dem gain from Conservative
- Colchester - No Overall Control, no change
- Dacorum - Conservative hold
- East Cambridgeshire - Conservative hold
- East Hertfordshire - Conservative hold
- East Suffolk - Conservative hold
- Epping Forest - Conservative hold
- Fenland - Conservative hold
- Great Yarmouth - Conservative hold
- Harborough - Conservative hold
- Harlow - Labour hold
- Ipswich - Labour hold
- King's Lynn & West Norfolk - Conservative hold
- Luton - Labour hold
- Maldon - Conservative Hold
- Mid Suffolk - Conservative lose to No Overall Control
- Milton Keynes - No overall control, no change
- North Hertfordshire - Conservatives lose to No Overall Control
- North Norfolk - Lib Dem gain from No Overall Control
- Norwich - Labour hold
- Peterborough - Conservative lose to No Overall Control
- Rochford - Conservative hold
- Rutland - Conservative hold
- St Albans - Conservative lose leaving No Overall Control
- South Holland - Conservative hold
- South Kesteven - Conservative hold
- South Norfolk - Conservative hold
- Southend-on-Sea - Conservative lose to No Overall Control
- Stevenage- Labour hold
- Tendring - Conservative lose to No Overall Control
- Thurrock - No Overall Control, no change
- Uttlesford - Uttlesford Residents gain from Conservative
- Welwyn Hatfield - Conservative lose to No Overall Control
- West Suffolk - Conservative hold