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LIB DEMS STRENGTHEN GRIP ON NEWCASTLE

May 2, 2008 12:00 PM

The Liberal Democrats tightened their grip on Newcastle City Council by winning even more seats from Labour in this year's local elections.

The Labour Party suffered a series of setbacks losing Lemington, Newburn and Fenham to the Lib Dems.

There was no sign of a revival in Newcastle for the Conservatives who failed once again to get a toe-hold back on the council where they haven't had a seat since 1996.

The new council line-up is Liberal Democrat 49 and Labour 29.

Of the 28 seats up for grabs at the election the Lib Dems won 19 and Labour won nine.

Among Labour's casualties was long serving Lemington councillor Barry Phillipson who lost his seat to Lib Dem Liz Langfield.

In Newburn Mike Curthoys of the Lib Dems won the seat from the sitting Labour councillor Anne Whittaker.

In Fenham Labour's George Johnson was toppled by Lib Dem Colin Daglish.

The Lib Dems picked up another seat in Denton where the Lord Mayor Peter Arnold, a former council leader, beat Ian Proud, the former Lib Dem and Labour councillor, who was standing for UKIP.

Also elected were Peter Breakey and Catherine Pagan in North Jesmond, Peter Leggott in East Gosforth and David Down in Parklands.

However, there was consolation for Labour as the party won a hard-fought battle in marginal Wingrove with Irim Ali unseating Lib Dem councillor Ayaz Siddique.

The BNP failed to make a breakthrough despite fielding 12 candidates, though Ken Booth came second to Labour in Elswick.