LABOUR has secured control in a battleground council after gaining a council seat from the Conservatives.

Labour are now the largest party on Crawley Borough Council with 18 seats, with the Conservatives on 17. There is one vacancy on the council, caused by the ill health of a former Labour councillor, set to be filled in a by-election next month.

However, the Labour leader of the council has resigned after piloting the party to success in the local elections.

Cllr Peter Lamb said that was incredibly grateful for the support he has received over the years and thanked supporters for backing Labour in the elections.

He said: “I was 25 when I became Labour group leader, I’ve done the second-longest term ever, and I’m the first Labour leader in 40 years to be able to go on his own terms.

“I feel like I’ve done for now what I want to do and I want a short break from the tense politics I have been doing.

“I’ll be doing what I can to support the community whatever happens.”

The news comes as Labour have made only small headway in England outside of London, while the Conservatives have lost a net total of over 270 councillors.

Labour made six gains in Worthing to win an overall majority on the council for the first time ever.

The party also made gains in Adur, but its successes were tempered with its loss of control in Hastings at the hands of the Greens.

Shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry told Sky News that the results were at the “top end” of what Labour was hoping for.

She said: “I’m not saying that we haven’t got a huge amount of work to do, but I think that if you think about the morning after, or the week after, 2019, how bad it was, people were saying to us that it was pretty much the end of the Labour Party, we weren’t ever going to get back on our feet again.

“This shows that we have got back on our feet again.”