Somerset

Tories increase control of Somerset County Council

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Media captionFormer Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt has taken Wells from John Osman

The Conservative Party took 35 out of 55 available seats to retain control of Somerset County Council with an increased majority.

The Tories took six seats more than at the last election in 2013 despite a high-profile defeat for council leader John Osman.

Mr Osman lost his Wells seat to former Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt by 95 votes.

However, the Lib Dems lost six seats overall compared to 2013.

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Despite the Somerset losses, Ms Munt told BBC Radio Four she thought her party was "in full-on bounce back".

She added: "It's very nice to be back representing the people of Wells, in a new way, and I look forward to being their county councillor.

"I am a Lib Dem who's unseated a Conservative, I am hoping to do that again in five weeks time when I stand for parliament.

"People understand that we do care, that we're not just about money, it's all about caring about people and representing them really well."

Image caption John Osman was the leader of Somerset County Council for five years

Outgoing leader of the council, John Osman said: "There have been some interesting results up and down the county but it appears the Conservative party is well on its way to returning an administration to county hall."

Mr Osman served as the county councillor for Wells for 12 years.

UKIP lost all three of its seats on the council, while Labour retained its three seats.

Along with the remaining 12 Lib Dem councillors, three Independents and two Greens complete the new council.

The Green party took the Frome East and Frome West wards previously held by the Lib Dems.

Following Mr Osman's defeat, deputy council leader David Hall is expected to take on the responsibilities of leader until a full council meeting on 24 May.

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