LABOUR held on to Redditch borough council after retaining seven of the nine wards contested in the local elections.
Party group leader Councillor Bill Hartnett not only held on to his own seat but saw Councillors Yvonne Smith and John Fisher retain the Tory target seats of Winyates and Matchborough.
Other Labour winners were Couns Joe Baker (Greenlands) Greg Chance (Central) Pattie Hill (Batchley & Brockhill and Mark Shurmer in Lodge Park.
“They said it couldn’t be done and that Labour were going to lose and we had a majority of just one,” said Coun Hartnett.
“This was a victory for our proud record and our future programme and I thank Redditch wholeheartedly for putting its faith in Labour.”
The result was a blow to the bitterly disappointed Conservatives whose tight-lipped group leader Coun Juliet Brunner (M’boro), left without talking to the press.
The damage to Tory hopes was done by Ukip, a party which, four years ago, didn’t field a single candidate in these elections but which this time around beat the Conservatives into third place in three seats.
Ukip had targeted just one seat – Winyates – and their spokesman Coun Paul Swansborough said next time they’d make even greater inroads with the electorate.
“I’m disappointed because Winyates was the one we thought we could win. Perhaps our party was a bit too ambitious and we should have concentrated our resources.
“However we pushed the Conservatives hard and it shows we still have momentum. I think if you looked at the results along county council lines, and it’s county elections next year, we might be looking at a victory for us.”
Coun Brandon Clayton, deputy leader of the Conservative Group said: “I’m disappointed, it’s been a frustrating evening, I’m disappointed for our candidates and for all the effort we’ve put in.
“I’m not sure if this is a protest vote and might indicate how people are going to vote in the EU referendum.
“However after June 23 we will be back stronger than ever and we live to fight another day.”