The Conservative Party has lost overall control of Oxfordshire County Council by just one seat following a dramatic election count today (Friday).
Banbury voters played a crucial role in the swing, with Conservatives losing seats to Labour candidates in all four key town wards of Ruscote, Calthorpe, Hardwick and Grimsbury & Castle.
Before yesterday’s election the Conservatives held 52 County Hall seats - a majority of 30.
But that has now been wiped out, with the Tories holiding 31 seats, Labour 15, Liberal Democrats 11, Green two and Others four in a reduced chamber of 63 seats following Boundary Commision changes.
The UK Independence Party failed to win any seats but came a strong second or third in many areas.
Surinder Dhesi (Labour and Co-operative) took Banbury Hardwick with 700 votes, beating Nicholas Turner (Conservative) with 586 votes.
Mrs Dhesi put the swing down to the array of changes and cuts which she said had been introduced by the Conservative-led coalition government.
“I’m really pleased. We need to put people first and that’s not what they’re doing with all these changes. Labour have done well but there also seem to be lots of protest votes. Now we’ve got to make sure we get on with the work,” she said.
Mark Cherry (Labour) took Banbury Calthorpe with 576 votes, ahead of Keith Strangwood (Conservative) with 560 votes.
Banbury Ruscote was won by John Christie (Labour) with 787 votes from Alyas Ahmed (Conservative) with 477 votes. Mike Beal(Labour) took Banbury Grimsbury & Castle with 853 votes, beating Ann Bonner with 634 votes.
The Conservatives held their seat in Bloxham and Easington with Kieron Mallon taking 1,281 votes, beating Lynne Shawyer (UKIP) into second place with 512 votes.
The Conservatives also held Deddington - with Arash Ali Fatemian taking 1,451 votes ahead of Alan Paul Harris (UKIP) with 576 votes - and Wroxton and Hook Norton with George Reynolds winning 1,709 votes from Claire Webb (UKIP) coming in second with 527.
In Chipping Norton Hilary Biles also won for the Conservatives, taking 1,447 votes.
The Conservatives also lost overall control of Warwickshire County Council. They won just 26 seats, losing 12 to opposition parties, as Labour doubled its number of seats from 12 to 22. The Liberal Democrats took nine seats, the Green Party two seats with three independents.
In the Kineton Division Chris Williams (Conservative) took the seat with 921 votes, The Conservatives also narrowly took the Shipston-on-Stour seat with Chris Saint taking 1,064 votes, beating Richard Cheney (Lib Dem) with 1,010 votes,
There were also some district council elections yesterday, Thursday.
The contest for the Hook Norton seat on Cherwell District council has been won by Ray Jelf of the Conservative Party.
The full count was as follows: Colin Clark (Green Party) 101 votes, Ray Jelf (Conservative) 511 votes, Perran Moon (Labour) 155 votes.
The Conservative majority on the council remains unchanged.
Full Oxfordshire County Council results for seats in the Banbury Guardian region:
BANBURY CALTORPE: Mark Cherry (Labour) 576 - Elected; Keith Morris Strangwood (Conservative) 560; Gordon Murray Watt (UKIP) 491; David James Chanter (Green) 91; Janice Johnson (Liberal Democrat) 80.
Banbury Grimsbury & Castle: Mike Beal (Labour) 853 - Elected; Ann Bonner (Conservative) 634; Linda Michelle Wren (UKIP) 345; John Haywood (Green); Kenneth Ashworth (Liberal Democrat) 56.
Banbury Hardwick: Surinder Dhesi (Labour & Co-operative) 700 – Elected; Nicholas Patrick Turner (Conservative) 586; John Jefferson Brown (UKIP) 561; Anthony Robert Burns (Liberal Democrat) 85; Robert Paynter (Green) 77.
Banbury Ruscote: John Christie (Labour) 787 - Elected; Alyas Ahmed (Conservative) 477; David Andrew Burton (UKIP) 428; Christopher John Manley (Green) 95.
Bloxham & Easington: Kieron Paul Mallon (Conservative) 1281 - Elected; Lynne Shawyer (UKIP) 512; Mary Evans Young (Labour) 361; Graham Antrobus (Liberal Democrat) 120; Katherine Jane Chandler (Green) 115.
Chipping Norton: Hilary Biles (Conservative) 1447 - Elected; Geoff Saul (Labour & Co-operative) 911; James Charles Stanley (UKIP) 383; Paul Dominic Creighton (Green) 132; Andrew Edward Crick (Liberal Democrat) 77.
Deddington: Arash Ali Fatemian (Conservative) 1451- Elected; Alan Paul Harris (UKIP) 576; Mary Franklin (Green) 456; Sue Christie (Labour) 442; Ian Thomas (Liberal Democrat) 205.
Wroxton & Hook Norton: George Anthony Reynolds (Conservative) 1709 - Elected; Claire Webb (UKIP) 527; Perran Moon (Labour) 458; Colin Clark (Green) 229; Peter Davis (Liberal Democrat) 175