BREAKING NEWS: Conservatives retain control of Northamptonshire County Council

The votes being counted at Kettering Conference Centre.
The votes being counted at Kettering Conference Centre.
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The Conservative party has reached an unassailable lead in the county council elections.

The result means the Tories will retain control of County Hall for the next four years, with Labour confirmed once more as the official opposition.

Earlier today, Conservative group leader Heather Smith said she was thrilled with retaining her retaining her seat.

On retaining control of County Hall altogether, she said: "Actually at the moment I feeling quite overwhelmed by it all, because we had 36 out of 57 seats before and it's quite clear now that we will exceed that this time.

"The figure might be nearer 40 seats, but it's actually quite sad in some ways, the councillors we work with from other parties who we know have been really hard working councillors it will be sad to see them go."

As it stands and with an hour left to go of the count, the council is split between just two parties.

But asked whether she thought that was a bad thing for local democracy, she said: "To be frank no, mainly because when we have council meeting, very often we seem to go round and round in circles, everybody wanted to have their say.

"It's really good if you have a good strong opposition and you know, at the moment there are a number of seats that were Liberal Democrat to be declared, so at the moment we don't know whether Lib Dem will have a voice or not."

And on whether she felt that the county council elections had been decided on national lines, she said: "I really hope not, I thought when the general election was declared that the down turnout would be lower.