The Liberal Democrats have strengthened their control over Sutton Council by winning 45 seats on Sutton Council compared to the Tories’ nine.

Council leader Ruth Dombey branded the success a “historic victory” as her party retained control for an eighth successive election.

UKIP made significant inroads in the polls but failed to win any seats while Labour Councillor John Keys lost after switching his ward.

The count was held up and the final results only arrived at 8am on Friday after the count began. Reasons for the hold-up included a ballot box allegedly being mislaid, ballot papers taking too long to unfold and a large number of split votes.

Following the victory, Coun Dombey said: “I would like to thank the London Borough of Sutton who have decided to re-elect the Liberal Democrats for a historic eighth term.

“They trust us and have confidence in us. We will continue to listen to our residents, to work with our residents and are proud and privileged to work with them.”

Sutton Guardian: Sutton Council local election results map 2014

The new political map of Sutton

No-one dared make predictions before the results were revealed but many expected the Conservatives to gain seats in some wards.

However, that was not to be and the Tories ended up losing two seats.

Conservative group leader Councillor Graham Whitham, who kept his seat  said: “It’s bound to be bitterly disappointing for many of our candidates who put a great deal of time and effort into this campaign.

“My own personal survival goes on the back-burner compared to the pain that they will be feeling.

“They would have brought great attributes to the council and given our group more experience while representing the community of Sutton.”

UKIP polled significant portions of the vote in several wards including St Helier where the candidate came fourth.

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