LABOUR is now stronger on Oxford City Council after it made gains in Thursday’s local elections.

With half the seats up for grabs, the party gained two seats from the Greens but lost another, Quarry and Risinghurst, to the Lib Dems.

The results mean that Labour now has 36 councillors and the Liberal Democrats have nine.

It was an awful night for the Green Party. It started last night with four councillors and now has just two.

Its leader David Thomas had moved from its Holywell ward to challenge Labour councillor Tom Hayes in St Clement’s but was well beaten in second place.

Labour council leader Susan Brown said she was not surprised by her party’s continued electoral success.

She said: “We talk to people and we listen. I think we have a broad representation across Oxford and do understand the issues across the city.

“There are obviously common themes – the fact that there’s tremendous pressure on housing in the city; people’s natural and understandable concern in the rise of homelessness, which is a direct result of the Government’s austerity policies, and the whole effect of those policies. 

“I think we have been in tune with people’s concerns on those issues.”

Lib Dem group leader Andrew Gant said: “I think it was a pretty good night. Labour started from a high base and they’ve gone backwards.

“They put masses of resources in North Oxford. [Labour-supporting journalist] Owen Jones went there and our majority has gone up.”

“There was a huge vote for hard-working councillors like Steve Goddard [in Wolvercote] and Mohammed Altaf-Khan [in Headington].”

He added the party was pleased that Roz Smith, who won in Quarry and Risinghurst, had been recognised as ‘hard-working’. She is also the county councillor for Headington and Quarry.

A sorry night for the Green party continued as it lost Holywell and Carfax to Labour – coming third behind the Liberal Democrats in both of those wards. Its only victory of the night was in St Mary’s ward, where Dick Wolff won.

Journalist, writer and stand-up comedian Shaista Aziz had the last laugh in Rose Hill and Iffley and thanked all those who voted for her - another seat for Labour.

Turnout was 38 per cent, slightly down on the last local elections in 2016. Two years ago, 39.2 per cent of people had voted across the city.

Labour and the Lib Dems both saw their vote share of 48 per cent and 23.3 per cent respectively increase by 5.7 per cent on two years ago. The Greens’ share of 14.5 per cent fell dropped by 5.8 per cent.

Over in West Oxfordshire the Liberal Democrats enjoyed a fruitful night at the expense of the Conservatives.