Labour turned the political map red at councils across the West Midlands as they snatched seats and took control of a number of authorities – but there was also some Green cheer in other areas.
Several councils saw power switch as the Tories and Liberal Democrats were hit by mid-term blues amid a poor turn out.
Labour swept to victory in Dudley, gaining 13 seats, in results which saw prominent Tory cabinet members David Stanley and Adrian Turner ousted.
Former Lib Dem councillors Dave Tyler and Lynn Boleyn won back their seats in Kingswinford North and Wall Heath, having both defected to Labour.
Coun David Sparks, who leads the Labour group in Dudley, said: “It’s a very, very significant result. We won because we focused on local communities and we fought local issues, plus of course the Tory vote has collapsed.”
In Sandwell, Labour won all 24 seats on offer, to give it an overwhelming 68 out of 72 seats and in Wolverhampton they won nine more wards.
Among those to fall was Tory councillor Paddy Bradley, after 39 years on the council. Labour, which only took control of the council in December 2010, now has 44 councillors compared with the Tories’ 13.
But in Walsall, Labour didn’t live up to expectations of seizing overall control, winning only one extra ward, leaving them on 28 seats, against the Tories’ 24.
The stalemate means the five Lib Dem councillors and three Independents on the council could now play a key role.
Labour took control of Redditch, winning four seats to gain a total of 15. The Conservatives lost three seats and the Liberal Democrats lost their only seat in the authority, Winyates to Labour. The Conservatives had led the council since 2008.
The Tories retained control of Solihull Council – but with a much reduced majority. They lost two seats in Blythe and Kingshurst & Fordbridge, but gained Shirley East from the Lib Dems. Overall, their majority was reduced by one.
But all political parties said they were disappointed by a “pathetic” 20 per cent turn-out in some wards and the sense of apathy among voters.
Greens were nonetheless triumphant, having gained another councillor in Chelmsley Wood, to take their total to five.
Chris Williams, who took the Chelmsley Wood seat from Labour, said: “It’s a vote against the loss of green space.
“It’s the first time we have gained three seats in the borough. It’s a record result.”
There was also a shock result in Blythe, where the Independent Ratepayers and Residents candidate Linda Brown ousted the Tories.
“It’s three years’ hard work. We’re not a brand like the Tories, it’s down to the individual person,” she said.
The Conservatives kept control of Stratford-upon-Avon District Council in the local elections, winning 11 of the 19 seats contested.
The party now holds 33 seats in the council, followed by the Lib Dems with 16 seats. Independents have two seats and the Stratford First Independents also have two seats.
The Conservatives lost overall control of Worcester City Council and Wyre Forest District Council.
In Wyre Forest, the Independent Community and Health Concern party won five seats, taking them to a total of eight seats and leaving them along with Labour as the main opposition party on the council. The Conservatives lost four seats and Labour gained one overall. In Worcester the Conservative Party lost one seat while Labour gained three.
The Green Party won their first seat on the authority– but that one seat gives the party the power to decide who runs the council if the Lib Dems opt to join Labour.
Cannock Chase District Council is now under full Labour control as the party snatched eight of the 14 seats on offer from rivals.
The group has now doubled its advantage over the Conservatives, with a total of 24 seats. The biggest turnaround of the night came in Cannock South ward, as Labour’s Maureen Freeman grabbed the seat from the Tories by more than 500 votes. It was a fruitless night for the Lib Dems, who now have five seats.
The Conservatives held on to Tamworth Borough Council but Labour pinched seats in Belgrave, Castle, Glascote, Stoneydelph and Wilnecote to give it 11 seats against the Tories’ 18.