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Housing and health key battlegrounds as Labour takes control of flagship Tory council

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Housing and health key battlegrounds as Labour takes control of flagship Tory council

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Central Government, Communities, Health, Housing

Housing and health key battlegrounds as Labour takes control of flagship Tory council Housing and health key battlegrounds as Labour takes control of flagship Tory council

Labour has taken control of the London borough of Hammersmith & Fulham - once dubbed David Cameron's favourite Conservative council.

Housing and health were the key local battlegrounds for the parties as voters expressed their anger at the way the Tory-run local authority had handled the £8 billion regeneration of the Earls Court area, which includes the demolition of the world famous exhibition centre and two housing estates - Gibbs Green and West Kensington.

Conservative MP for Chelsea Greg Hands, however, blamed Labour "lies" about the future of Charing Cross Hospital for the defeat, which saw the Tories lose 11 seats to Labour on the night.

Greg Hands, said: "There are a lot of Labour lies about Charing Cross Hospital. The old building was going to be demolished but replaced with a new build hospital and A&E."

Labour's Stephen Cowan (pictured), the new leader of Hammersmith and Fulham, described the MP's response to his party's defeat "as sour grapes" and denied lies had been told. He added they had "voted Labour in David Cameron's favourite council".

Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith, said the victory was "the most fantastic result we've had in London for years".

Despite a muted performance in other parts of the country - where the UK Independence Party has made considerable gains - Labour is expected to do well in the London boroughs.

Labour gained six seats in Wandsworth with Conservative council leader Ravi Govindia saying: "UKIP is the lion that didn't roar in Wandsworth."

More than 1,800 seats in the 32 London boroughs are being contested for the first time in four years. Voters also cast a ballot for the eight London European Parliament seats.

Mayoral elections are taking place in Hackney, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

Commeting on his party's gains around the country, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: "The UKIP fox is in the Westminster hen house."

With many councils still to declare, turnout looks set to be about 36%.

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