Eastleigh Liberal Democrats have emerged victorious after local elections which saw their party hammered in almost every other part of the country.
The Borough’s Lib Dems reclaimed both seats lost to defections by Keith Day and Andy Moore who had stood for re-election as independents.
The Lib Dems also scooped up the Eastleigh South seat vacated by Labours only councillor Brian Norgate who stood in Southampton Harefield ward where he also lost .
This leaves Eastleigh with 38 Liberal Democrat councillors facing four Conservatives and two independents.
Even councillors who have meeting attendance rates of below 60% were returned handsomely by the electorate.
The results were delayed by the need to verify the AV ballot paper although the AV count was not due to take place until later today.
While Lib Dems lost seats nationally losing control of councils including Nick Clegg’s home town of Sheffield they also defied the trend in nearby Portsmouth – only losing one seat.
Portsmouth Lib Dem Mp Mike Hancock told BBC political correspondent Peter Henley that this was due to local Lib Dems ‘distancing’ themselves from the coalition.
The night was not without controversy as questions were asked about a leaflet delivered by the (ultimately Successful) Lib Dem candidate for central ward which claimed voters should vote for him as he was an “experienced local councillor” – this was disputed by the Independent group of councillors.
One Central Eastleigh voter, 54, who did not wish to be named said:
“This morning I have asked both the Police and the Electoral Commission to investigate”