Cheltenham Liberal Democrats are celebrating a terrific set of borough council election results.
The party won 14 of the 20 seats on offer, including two victories in areas considered safe Conservative territory.
The Tory group leader lost his Park ward seat by 56 votes to Max Wilkinson and Paul Baker won the delayed poll in Charlton Park to leave the blue party in disarray.
To add to the success, Lib Dem councillors now have strong majorities in places recently held by the Conservatives.
Helena McCloskey retained her seat in Charlton Kings with an increased majority of almost 300 votes, Andrew McKinlay received more than 50% of the vote in Up Hatherley and Nigel Britter won 65% of the vote in Benhall and the Reddings. Thanks must also go to Charlie Stewart and Paul Massey who stood down from the council this year. Their seats were successfully defended by Dan Murch and Flo Clucus.
Liberal Democrats now hold 25 of the 40 seats on the borough council, with the Tories on just 11 and the People Against Bureaucracy on four. UKIP, Labour and the Green Party again failed to win any seats.
Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood added his thanks: “Congratulations to all our candidates and campaigners who worked flat out to deliver these fantastic results. They’re part of a wider national trend, from the Lake District to South London to Cornwall that shows that where we really put our own message across well, Lib Dems can still defy all the opinion polls. If we keep putting that message across on the doorstep and in our leaflets for the next eight months we have every chance of defying the odds at the General Election too.”