After a tense Thursday night, and an even more testing Friday afternoon while the count took place at Brigg’s Ancholme Leisure Centre, North Lincolnshire Council was won by the Conservatives, so ending Labour’s four year grip on the unitary authority.
The two parties were neck and neck on 20 seats each midway through Friday afternoon, when after six recounts, the last ward at Burton on Stather and Winterton was declared.
In the final drama of a tumultuous 18 hours, three Labour seats in that ward from the 2007 election were all won by the Conservatives to give them a 23-20 majority.
It was so tight that Helen Rowson, the Conservative who polled 1,860 votes, won the third Burton and Winterton seat from Matthew Buckley of Labour, who polled 1,859, by a single vote.
Turnout across North Lincolnshire in the 17 wards reached 40 per cent in this election compared to 32 per cent in the 2007 local elections.
The election saw a Conservative gain from an Independent in the Brigg and Wolds Ward, Rob Waltham winning the seat from John Berry, who left the Tory ranks last year but remained in the chamber as an Independent.
The count of the district election votes started at 5am. The first result was announced at 6.20am.
After ten seats were declared the counting stopped, but the drama continued when the count of the final seven wards was delayed until 12 noon on Friday.
As the tension mounted, with the lead swaying between one party and the other, it was mid afternoon before the final outcome was known and the Conservatives were celebrating.
Leaders of the two main parties, Conservative Liz Redfern and Labour’s Mark Kirk, retained their seats.
Full result was:
BRIGG AND WOLDS WARD
John Charles Berry (Ind) 556
Michael Stuart Campion (Lab) 1,032
Arshad Jawaid (Lab) 656
Latif Miah (Lab) 561
Carl Graham Sherwood (Con) 2,299 Elected
Nigel John Sherwood (Con) 2,349 Elected
James Truepenny (Ind) 755
Rob Waltham (Con) 1,897 Elected
Mick Wilson 536