The Labour party has claimed victory in Merton after making gains in this year's council elections.

Labour won 36 seats after winning seats from the Conservatives in in Abbey, Cannon Hill and Lower Morden wards.

Conservatives won 20 seats, down seven from 2010.

Merton Park Independents retained all three seats in Merton Park.

While the Liberal Democrats leader Iain Dysart lost his seat in West Barnes by only about 35 seats to a Conservative candidate.

The LibDems did manage to retain one seat in the borough, with a victory for Mary-Jane Jeanes in West Barnes.

UKIP candidates who defected from Conservatives last year lost their seats as the national surge in support for the party failed to translate into winning votes in Merton.

KOSHH and Mitcham Independent parties failed to come close to winning seats but gathered more than 100 votes for every candidate.

In his victory speech council leader Stephen Alambritis said:"We knocked on a lot of doors of people who said we normally vote Conservative but we like the way you run the council and the way you run the administration and we don't want to change that."

He said: "I think residents like promises but they like to know they are realistic.

"We have done what we said we would do - we have frozen council tax, created 2,000 more school places, engaged with residents and in addition we have been business-like with good financial management."

He added: "The greater the majority the more humble we will be because the expectation is higher so we will continue to speak to residents and to others parties.

"The fact that we have a majority does not mean that there is a new ball game."

He said he is now waiting to see if it will be a majority win. 

Labour has been in charge of the council since 2010 but Merton has been in no overall control - Labour had 28 seats and ran the council as a minority administration.



How the borough's political landscape compares with 2010

Councillor Oonagh Moulton, leader of Merton Conservatives paid tribute to hard-working colleagues following the blow to her group overnight, vowing to hold the elected Labour council to account over the next four years.

She said: "We've lost a number of close, very hard-working colleagues tonight and I know that members across the council are saddened by that but we've also elected some new colleagues tonight but we've also elected here tonight some new colleagues, new councillors across the parties but in particular I pay tribute to those who have fought and won a good election.

"I do congratulate Labour on their victory and although our group is smaller it wil retain a strong presence because we are united as a Conservative group and we do stand up for our residents and we can reassure them that we will be holding this Labour administration to account."

Merton Liberal Democrats leader, Iain Dysart, lost his council seat to a Tory candidate by a tiny margin in West Barnes ward.

Speaking graciously, with a smile on his face, Mr Dysart said: "Obviously I'm disappointed.

"We knew it was going to be close and I think that proved to be the case.

"We knew we had a national back-drop to deal with but we've done a lot of good things in the last few years and I think that was recognised by the West Barnes residents, although not on a high enough level."

Mr Dysart pointed out there were only 34 votes between him and the Tory candidate, but admitted it was a disappointing night for Merton Lib Dems.

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