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Former Labour councillor celebrates Tory borough victory
The colour of the political map at Hertsmere Borough Council remained as blue as ever on Thursday.
Overall, the Conservatives kept 28 councillors, Liberals went from six to seven and Labour lost one, meaning they are the smallest party with just four councillors.
A Tory loss in Bushey was balanced by a gain in Borehamwood Kenilworth, after the Labour vote was split between former Labour councillor Frank Ward, who stood as an independent, and Peter Hedges, the party's new candidate.
Kenilworth's new councillor is Conservative Penelope Swallow, who achieved 467 votes, just 49 ahead of Mr Hedges, who got 418 votes. There were 216 votes for Mr Ward.
But a bitter Mr Ward insisted he had achieved his goal of ousting former Labour colleague Mr Hedges.
"I never said I was going to win, " he said. "I was only determined that I would split the Labour vote, so to some extent I did win."
Former Labour leader Leon Reefe said the party felt "betrayed" by him.
The Liberal Democrats gained one seat, taking Bushey St James from the Tories.
The Conservatives retained their seats in Hillside, Elstree, Aldenham and one of the two Brookmeadow seats which were up for election.
Conservative MP for Hertsmere, James Clappison, who has helped in the campaign, said: "We are very pleased that we've made gains in Borehamwood.
"In Brookmeadow it was obviously a very close-fought and nail-biting campaign. It's a very good reflection on the council."
Labour's Ernie Butler returns to the borough council in Cowley Hill after being defeated in Kenilworth last year. The other Brookmeadow seat was won by Ian Feeney following former Labour leader Mr Reefe's departure.
Mr Butler said: "I'm very pleased that the people of Cowley Hill have voted me in. We've had a few problems in the party in the last few months. Hopefully we are going to go from strength to strength."
The winning candidates in Borehamwood, Elstree and Radlett were: Borehamwood Cowley Hill - Ernie Butler (Labour); Borehamwood Brookmeadow - Darren Solomons (Conservative) and Ian Feeney (Labour); Borehamwood Hillside - Jean Heywood (Conservative); Borehamwood Kenilworth - Penelope Swallow (Conservative); Elstree - Morris Bright (Conservative); Aldenham East - Charles Goldstein (Conservative); Aldenham West - Daniel Griffin (Conservative);