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Lib Dems win a greater share of the vote than Labour in local elections

May 5, 2006 9:08 AM

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell has said the local elections represented "consolidation" as the Lib Dems won a greater share of the vote than Labour. Sir Menzies said the elections had not been a "test" of his leadership but of the party in general.

The party's president, Simon Hughes, said the Lib Dems were continuing to make progress. "Compared with five, 10, 15, 20 years ago, where we were not a presence in Sheffield, in Newcastle, in Birmingham, in Manchester - in all the big places... we have been building up solidly and in terms of the numbers of councillors... we're not far behind Labour in terms of councillors elected," he said.

The Lib Dems took South Lakeland District Council, in Lancashire, from no overall control, after gaining six Labour seats, two Conservative and one Independent.

In St Albans, Hertfordshire, the Lib Dems narrowly won the council, which previously had no overall control, by gaining two seats.

Liberal Democrat chief executive Lord Rennard told the BBC: "We consider it a good morning actually, to push the Labour Party into third place nationally is not something we'd expected a few years ago. "We made some extremely good gains and very few losses so actually we're really rather pleased this morning."