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REDBRIDGE: Council election count - LIVE
WELCOME to the Guardian's live coverage of the local election results in Redbridge: reporter James Ranger is blogging live from the count in Ilford Town Hall.
Get in touch – post comments using the feature at the bottom of the page; send a message on Twitter (@Redbridge_News); or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2140 And, as a certain cartoon bunny with a penchant for freshly-picked carrots used to say, that's all folks.
Redbridge Council is still not under any overall control, with the Tories losing one seat overall, while the Labour group gained ground and closed the gap between them and the Conservaties.
Meanwhile, a big shock was seeing the Lib Dems gain more votes than last time but lose seats, dropping even further behind the other two parties, while no other parties or independent candidates retained or won seats.
The coming weeks will no doubt bring discussions between the parties to see who will work with who to govern the borough.
I've been James Ranger and you've been a great audience. See you in four years.
2130 The Guardian caught up with Liberal Democrat group leader Hugh Cleaver, who reflected on a disappointing election for his party.
"The thing is our share of the vote has gone up but we've lost seats, which is the same as the national picture."
However, he said that a hung council was not neccesarily the negative outcome some would have, saying that it would encourage greater openness.
He added: "One thing a hung council does mean is that decisions will be made more in the open, rather than by a small group of people behind the scenes. The council will be more accountable."
2120 - RESULTS!
REDBRIDGE HAS A HUNG COUNCIL The result in Goodmayes saw Hai, White, Jones take the seat for Labour, taking one seat each away from the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, while over in Hainault...
The Conservatives take all three seats with Cllrs Gray, Griffin and Poole being elected, as an independent and a BNP councillor lost theirs.
CON: 30, LAB: 26, LIB: 7
2105 - RESULT! Clayhall is in, and it's just nudged the Tories further ahead.
Cllrs Weinberg and Cole have retained their seats for the Conservatives, while Cllr Barden loses his as Labour's Gurdial Bhamra is elected.
Con: 27, Lab: 23, Lib Dem: 7 - two wards to go, six seats up for grabs. If the Tories can claim five of them, then they will have a majority.
But coming up is Goodmayes, which is currently has one member from each party, and Hainault, which has the borough's only BNP MP, and independent and a Tory.
THIS WILL GO TO THE WIRE!
2056 With that swing away from the Lib Dems in Chadwell, Labour (22) have moved to within three seats of the Tories (25).
There is now a real possibility of a hung council, with no party reaching the benchmark of 32 seats, but the way that the balance of power has changed in this election the final result is anyone's guess.
Re-elected Bridge ward councillor Robin Turbefield agrees, adding that hung parliaments can function, as Redbridge has done for the last year.
2050 - RESULT! Chadwell ward has moved completely to the Labour party, having been held by the Liberal Democrats.
Councillors Gittens, Nijjan and Walker will now represent the seat.
2045 The Tories now have 25 seats and only need 7 more from the four remaining wards to secure an overall majority - so it's looking almost certain that they will form the largest party...
BUT because all three parties have seats to defend in the remaining wards - Clayhall, Chadwell, Goodmayes and Hainault - means this one could go right down to the wire.
2040 - RESULT! Bridge ward is in, completed Wanstead and Woodford's magic half-dozen.
The Conservatives have gained a seat in this ward to complete the setwith their Paul Canal replacing independent Geoff Hines, and councillors John Fairley-Churchill and Robin Turbefield both retaining their seats.
2030 - RESULTS! Four wards have been announced in quick succession, so here they are.
Fairlop - Three-way Conservative hold, with Cllrs Lambert and Ryan retaining their seats, and Cllr Phillips replacing Cllr Corfield.
Newbury - A full Labour hold, with group leader Cllr Norman and Cllr Sharma retaining their seats, with newcomer Cllr Jeyaranjan replacing Cllr Turner.
Barkingside - The Conservatives retain their three seats, with council leader Keith Prince - he of the lucky dice cufflinks - and Cllr Kissin retaining their seats, alongside Cllr Solomon, who replaces Cllr Borrott.
Valentines - The first Lib Dem result for a while, with Cllr Patel retaining his seat, with two new Labour councillors holding on to their parties stake in the ward with Cllr Choudhry and Cllr Hatfield.
2002 - RESULT! Cranbrook ward has been announced, with more shifts in the balance of power.
Conservative councillors Chaudhary and Kumar have retained their seats, while Labour gained one through Cllr Mushtaq, whose win sees Tory cabinet member Gary Monro lose his seat.
1958 - RESULT! Mayfield ward is in, where Labour has cleaned up and added two seats to the one it already held.
The three winning Labour councillors for the ward are Cllr Parkash, who retained his seat, and Cllr Athwal and Cllr Flint, who replaced two independent candidates.
Cranbrook on the way...
1925 - RESULT! Neighbouring Snaresbrook ward has also stayed 'true blue' as the Conservatives continue to set the pace in this elections.
Councillors Cummins, Goody and Nolan have all retained their seats.
Just one to go for the Wanstead and Woodford area, with Bridge ward yet to be declared...
1920 - RESULT! Wanstead has been held by the Conservatives, with all three seats going to Councillors Thomas Chan, Michelle Dunn, and Alex Wilson.
Snaresbrook just coming in now too...
1910 - RESULT! Fulwell ward is in and it's a solid hold for the Conservatives, who retain all three seats.
Councillors Ann Candy, Nick Hayes and Harold Moth have been re-elected.
1858 In the midst of all the results - they're coming thick and fast now - the Guardian managed to snatch a few words with returned Monkhams ward councillors Michael Stark and Jim O'Shea, who will become mayor later this month.
Councillor Stark said he was optimistic, but had "no idea at all" what would happen before the end of the night.
He also said that no formal agreement existed between the Conservatives and other parties during the period of no overall control, but instead negotiations went on over decisions which are then put to all members.
Meanwhile, Cllr O'Shea said: "I have removed one obstacle to my not becoming mayor, because you have to be a councillor!"
Cllr O'Shea confirmed will be supporting the Dream Factory and the Alzheimer's Society during his year in office, which begins with his inauguraton on May 20.
1853 - RESULT! Labour have made further gains, as they win all three seats in Clementswood ward, taking two away from the Liberal Democrats.
Councillors Coomb, Hussain and Javed have all won seats for the party, which had been previously been split between two Lib Dems and one Labour.
1850 - RESULT! All three Labour councillors have held on to Seven Kings, as Stuart Bellwood, Robert Littlewood and Balvinder Saund are returned to their seats.
1835 - RESULT! We're halfway there in Wanstead and Woodford, and it's more good news for the Lib Dems, as all three councillors retain Roding ward.
Councillors Felicity Banks, Ian Bond have retained their seats, while Gwyneth Deakins held on to Farrukh Islam's former seat.
1825 - RESULT! Monkhams ward has been held by the Conservatives, with councillors Linda Huggett, Jim O'Shea and Michael Stark all holding their seats.
Linda Huggett is so far the highest vote-winner in Wanstead and Woodford, with 3,062, alongside Cllr O'Shea's 2,937 and Cllr Stark's 2,972.
1813 - RESULT! The first from Wanstead and Woodford - and the Liberal Democrats have held on to all three seats in Church End.
Councillors Richard Hoskins, Nicola Sinclair and group leader Hugh Cleaver all held their seats, and are the first Lib Dems to be announced as having been elected in the count.
1808 - RESULT! Aldborough ward is in, and here's a turn-up - the Conservatives have retained only two seats, while Labour have taken one away from them.
Ruth Clark and Vanessa Cole have held on to their seats for the Tories, while former mayor Lorrain Sladden has lost her seat to Mike Figg of the Labour group, prompting gasps from the assembled masses here in the hall.
1757 - RESULT! First of the afternoon, and Labour has held onto all three of its seats in the Loxford ward, with councillors Maravala, Rashid and Tewari have been elected.
It's also the first time that big screen on the stage in the auditorium here has been used to display a result. Word to those in charge: the font size could be a big bigger, some of us are a long way away up here in the cheap seats.
1748 The counting room now has a completely different feel about it to just a few hours ago, as it seems a great majority of the counting has been completed.
Tables sit empty, counters are twiddling their thumbs (with many, no doubt, praying that their ward doesn't have to be recounted), and officials are busy checking doubtful ballots.
Word is that Loxford ward in Ilford could be the first to be announced in the near future.
Keep it here, everyone.
1735 The announcer on the stage has appealed for quiet in the hall, in order that he can be heard. Who would have thought that counting pieces of paper could cause such a ruckus?
1730 Things appear to be heating up. So far, the election agents from four wards in the Wanstead and Woodford area - Church End, Monkhams, Snaresbrook and Roding - have been called to their respective counting tables "for the adjudication of doubtful ballots".
I've got a sneaky feeling this might mean a result or two is imminent, but I'm not holding my breath. And I'd advise you to do the same.
"Does this look like a 'X' to you...?"
1715 Around half of the local authority election results have been announced across the UK, and so far the total number of Labour councillors has leapt up, along with a significant rise in the number of Labour-controlled councils, largely at the expense of the Conservatives.
However, this is only part of the picture and with no results yet announced here in Redbridge there is very little to go on in terms of predicting if the Lib Dems will overhaul the Labour group into second place.
1705 Time for some proper analysis - Jeremy Vine, eat your heart out.
After the last election in 2006, the Conservative party enjoyed a slim majority of the 63 seats in the council, with 34 seats to Labour's 19, with the Lib Dem's in third place on 9.
However, since then the political landscape has shifted as there have been a number of defections and, sadly, the death of two councillors - Allan Burgess and James Leal.
The balance of power going into these elections had the Tories as the largest party but with no overall control, down to 31 seats, with Labour trailing on a reduced number of 14, while the Lib Dems increased their standing in the chamber to within touching distance of second place with 13 seats.
Conservative council leader Keith Prince said he was confident the overall swing to the Conservatives in the general election would be enough to give his party's group control of the council, even if it hadn't been enough for his Westminster colleagues to assume majority control of government.
Meanwhile, the surge in popularity for the Lib Dems did not translate to an increase in seats due to the way the first-past-the-post electoral system works.
So, two key questions in this election are: can the Conservatives can establish the neccesary majority of 32 seats to control the council?
And can the Liberal Democrats can move past Labour into the formal opposition?
1625 While the count continues apace down on the floor of the main hall, the Guardian is tucked away with its Thermos flask of weak tea and home-made sandwiches alongside the other journalists in the balcony, several metres above all the action.
Such a position gives an odd sense of power, like an overlord surveying his domain, but at the same time makes you feel as if you're slightly detached from the action and, as such, completely powerless.
It would be nice if one of the counters peered up and gave us humble hacks a little wave every now and then, but they've got important work to do.
It's ok, we understand guys.
1540 Down on the floor, it seems the counters have gotten themselves into a nice rhythm with their important work.
Candidates are clustering in party groups peering over the shoulders of those counters. Are they making sure they're doing it right? Are they hoping to sport a nice scrawled 'X' next to their name?
Who knows? They probably do, but I'm none the wiser. Still, it's fascinating stuff.
1515 The Guardian caught up with Conservative councillor and Redbridge council leader Keith Prince for a quick chat, and found him in a relaxed mood, despite only having had a few hours sleep over the past two days.
He said: "I'm feeling good. It's very encouraging. I think we're going to have an overall majority."
He congratulated Ilford North MP and fellow Tory Lee Scott on being returned with a "thumping majority", before saying that in Westminster an alliance between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats was "the only sensible solution" to the current hung parliament.
"We agree on the need to sort out the economy and to restore public trust in politicans," he said. "There's a lot of common ground there."
When asked whether he had any election day superstitions, Cllr Prince said: "I'm wearing my lucky cufflinks," before pulling up his jacket sleeves to reveal a sparkling pair in the shape of a pair of dice.
"I brushed my teeth this morning with my twenty year-old electric toothbrush, and it packed up! I thought, 'If that's the worst luck I get, then I think I'll be ok.'"
1458 We've just been told that all of the results will be declared by 8pm - thankfully not such a late finish as the general elections. I'll keep my fingers crossed, just in case.
1437 So much for voter apathy. It's just been announced that the turnout for this local election has risen enormously since the last time in 2006.
Turnout this year was an unprecedented 62.41 percent - up from 38.4 percent four years ago.
This is the first time in many years that there has been a general election on the same day, which may go some way to explaining the jump.
Democracy, it appears, is alive and well.
1432 And, with barely more than a murmour, the counting in the 2010 Redbridge Council elections begins.
1428 Still no actual counting underway. All the counters are beginning to look pensive.
I hope they aren't the same ones who made their way through the general election ballots until the wee small hours of this morning...
1400 Still waiting for the offical start of the count. The polls closed in Redbridge and the rest of the UK some 16 hours ago and after the excitement of the general election count, the local ballots are now about to be counted.
While MPs in Westminster battle to form a government, there's still everything to play for at a council level – so don't worry, there's plenty of intrigue to come.
After the last election there was no overall control in Redbridge Council, and with so many seats up for grabs, I wouldn't mind betting that there will be a few interesting results before the day is out.
1355 Only a few minutes to go now and the excitement is palpable. No, honestly.
From my position in the press gallery I can see a lot of relatively calm-looking people waiting to start counting. I wonder how many of them will have paper cuts by the end of the count.
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