IT was a good night for the Conservatives in the Chorley borough elections as they won two seats -- one from the Liberal Democrats, the other from Labour -- to take their total on the council to 18.

But Labour, too, were claiming victory at the polls which attracted a "turnout" of just under 50 per cent with people voting either by post, the internet or touch-tone telephone.

Tory Roger Livesey ousted the Lib Dem's Bill Mellor in Clayton-le-Woods North by just 16 votes -- 715 to 699 -- after several recounts.

Here there were 19 spoilt votes which, who knows, could have proved crucial.

And Conservative Peter Malpas was elected in Chorley North West ahead of sitting councillor, Labour's Robert Crabtree.

The make up of Chorley Borough Council now stands at 22 Labour, 18 Conservative 4 Liberal Democrat and 3 Independent.

Eric Bell, Conservative leader on the council, said: "It was a really good night for us. We got exactly what we planned.

"Our aim was to get all our councillors back, seven. We had to win seven just to stand still. We targeted Clayton-le-Woods North where Roger got in and Chorley North West which Peter won."

He said he was pleased that his candidates had increased their majorities, too, and added: "Next year is going to be interesting, we stand to gain more than this time."

Jack Wilson, the Labour leader of Chorley Borough Council, who also comfortably got back in his Chorley South West ward, said though: "We started with twenty two councillors and ended with twenty two councillors.

"We lost Bob Crabtree which is a severe loss because Bob is an excellent and experienced councillor."

Labour also won Coppull from the Lib Dems, with Andrew Birchall recording 939 votes against Pat Cuerden's 873.

Councillor Wilson continued: "The new council is very similar to the old one. I'm anticipating there won't be any change in direction and control of the administration.

"I'm very happy because it was predicted we would do quite badly. At this stage in the Parliamentary cycle it is bad news for the Conservatives."

He accused the Tories of fighting the elections with "no policies".

"All they did was oppose the Labour budget. I think they have got their just deserves."