DUDLEY Council delivered huge drama after a long day counting election votes which left no one in overall control.

The ruling Conservative administration lost four councillors including cabinet members and saw their majority eaten away.

Meanwhile Labour gained eight seats which left the two major parties with 34 councillors each on the 72 seat authority.

Power may now rest with the Lib Dems who gained two seats to take their total to three, while independent councillor Shaun Keasey retained his seat in Sedgley.

Despite losing overall control, Dudley’s Conservative leader, Cllr Patrick Harley was defiant.

He said: “We have some really demanding national issues, the party is trailing 20 points in the polls, you couldn’t hope for a worse time for all-out elections and yet here we sit level pegging with the Labour Party.

“Labour have failed to take outright control, they should have decimated us here today.

“The people of this borough have not taken Keir Starmer or Dudley’s Labour group to their hearts.

“We are in a really strong position hopefully to wield some influence and continue this administration to do the right thing for the people of Dudley.”

Labour are also upbeat after turning over a sizeable Tory majority and, after recounts in the Cradley north and Wollescote ward, were only a handful of votes from becoming the largest group in the council.

Dudey’s Labour leader, Cllr Pete Lowe, said: “No overall control is a good result, we have taken an administration that has been firmly blue since 2018 into a position of no overall control.

“We are quite buoyed up for the challenges to come. Look at the faces of the Conservative MPs as they left, they know if this had been a general election none of them would have been going back to Westminster.

“We have got to take a moment of reflection and have a look at what is in the interests of the people of Dudley.”

The Lib Dems will now become the most popular people in Dudley Council as the major parties look to woo them for their support.

Cllr Ryan Priest was the solitary Lib Dem on the authority before the election, he said: “It’s going to be an interesting weekend and week.

“We are going to celebrate the two gains and one defence, we have got the first group on Dudley Council for well over a decade so we are over the moon.”