CONTRARY to the national picture, the Conservatives failed to make any gains in Preston City Council's elections.

The political landscape remains largely unchanged in the traditional Labour hotspot, where a third of the council's seats were up for grabs.

Labour are still the largest party but have no overall control of the council; they still have 25 seats, but the Conservatives now have 18 seats after losing one.

The Liberal Democrat group have 10 seats, there are three independent councillors, and one Liberal Independent.

And as the council gets back to business as usual, it will not quite be quite the same for the council leader Ian Hall is stepping down and a new leader is expected to be announced imminently.

Councillor Hall said: "Overall we are quite satisfied with the result. You always hope you can do better and we are disappointed at losing the Town Centre ward but delighted we were able to win the Tulketh ward.

"It's all square for us and when you look round at the country that is a creditable performance as far as we are concerned."

Overall Labour won nine seats, the Conservatives seven, Liberal Democrats three and there was one independent and one socialist alliance councillor elected.

Councillor Ron Marshall, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: "We are delighted that the people of Preston have spoken. They have given us three very good victories.

"In spite of many difficulties during the last nine months we have come through and been strongly supported by the electorate, and we are delighted that we have held on to our two seats in Ingol and won one in Lea, and almost succeeded in Larches."

The big change for the Conservatives was the surprise loss for Margaret McManus in the Tulketh ward. Labour councillor Steven Brooks won the seat.

Ken Hudson, leader of the Preston Conservatives, said: "We were obviously disappointed to lose Margaret McManus. She has been a very good and hard-working councillor for Tulketh, and I think the people of Tulketh will miss her energy and enthusiasm for looking after their interests."

The Conservatives also gained a seat on the County Council. In a by-election to replace former councillor Bill Chadwick, William Parkinson replaces him as Preston Rural West representative.