SHROPSHIRE Council leader Peter Nutting lost his seat to the Liberal Democrats as the Conservatives emerged from the local elections with a reduced majority.
The shock result in Copthorne was one of several upsets for the the party as Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens all made gains.
The Conservatives suffered another blow in Market Drayton West, where long-serving councillor David Minnery, a cabinet member in the previous administration, was re-elected as an Independent after he was deselected.
Bucking the national trend, Labour emerged with three new seats – including Broseley, which the party had held until 2017, and one seat in Bridgnorth for the first time since Shropshire Council was formed in 2009.
Oswestry mayor Duncan Kerr took the town’s South ward from Conservative Paul Milner, while another Green town councillor, Mike Isherwood, also joins Shropshire Council after beating a Tory opponent in Oswestry West.
Radbrook in Shrewsbury saw a huge swing to the Greens, with Julia Evans elected in what was a Conservative stronghold.
The trio join returning Porthill councillor Julian Dean to form the first ever Green group on Shropshire Council.
The Conservatives made gains in Harlescott, Cleobury Mortimer and Wem, taking seats that were vacated by independent councillors stepping down.
Several senior Conservative councillors were re-elected, including deputy leader Steve Charmley in Whittington. He will fill in as leader until the group meets next week to decide who will take up the role in the new administration.
Also re-elected were cabinet members Steve Davenport in St Martin’s, Dean Carroll in Battlefield and Lezley Picton in Tern.
Three Liberal Democrat candidates in Shrewsbury won seats from the Conservatives, with Rob Wilson elected in Peter Nutting’s Copthorne ward and Bernie Bentick unseating the town’s mayor Gwen Burgess in Meole.
In Bowbrook, one of the biggest wins of the day was secured by 20-year-old Lib Dem Alex Wagner, the youngest councillor ever elected to Shropshire Council, in a sizeable swing from the Conservatives.
The new council will meet – in person – for the first time on May 20 for the council’s annual meeting.
The final seat count was as follows:
CON 43 (-5)
LIB DEM 14 (+2)
LAB 9 (+3)
GREEN 4 (+3)
IND 4 (-3)