Labour lost control of Brighton and Hove City Council in a night of high drama at the Brighton Centre.

When all the votes were counted they were a tantalising four seats away from a majority on the new 54-seat council.

The state of the parties is now Labour 24, Tories 20, Greens 6, Lib Dems three and independents one.

Although Labour is still the largest party, the night belonged to the Greens who made great strides forward.

Voting was extremely tight on a high turnout of 46 per cent in the all-postal ballot with several wards returning councillors from different parties.

All parties except the Greens suffered casualties during the contest. Labour losses included Frieda Warman-Brown, long-time education councillor and daughter of former Labour deputy Prime Minister George Brown.

Other losses were housing expert Pat Murphy and environment councillor Heather James in Wish ward, sports councillor Mike Middleton in Preston Park, John Warmington in Brunswick, Christine Simpson in St Peter's plus John Newington and John Ballance in Hanover.

The Tories lost veterans Brian Rowe in Goldsmid and Pamela Stiles in Preston Park but both had moved from safe seats elsewhere.

Former Tory councillor Jenny Barnard-Langston and her husband Mark Barnard, now Lib Dems, both lost their seats in central Hove to Tory newcomers Averil Older and Jan Young.

The one independent success went to Jayne Bennett, a former Conservative, in Stanford ward. She headed a successful campaign to retain a breast cancer unit in Brighton.

Former Labour councillor Steve Collier, also independent, failed to beat Labour councillors in South Portslade.

The Liberal Democrats retained their two seats in Brunswick and Coun Dawn Davidson, who switched wards, gained a seat in Regency.

But the Green advance was remarkable. The party surged ahead in its stronghold of St Peter's and gained one in Preston Park.

The Greens gained two seats in Hanover and Labour councillor Joyce Edmond-Smith only narrowly survived.

Most other independents and minor parties fared poorly with the BNP achieving a derisory vote in Rottingdean Coastal.

Following the result, it would be possible for alliances to be formed but no party has so far been in favour of this. A more likely scenario is that Labour will form a minority administration.

The parties will chew it over during the weekend.

Council leader Ken Bodfish, who won his ward in Queen's Park comfortably, said; "This is not the result we wanted but it is also not the result some other people wanted. It is clear that Labour is still the largest party in this city."

Tory leader Brian Oxley said: "Labour has been given a bloody nose and people have proved they are tired of the party's games in the city.

"No matter which coalition takes power in the city, I hope it will be in the best interests of the city."

An ebullient Green Party convenor Keith Taylor said: "This is a great night for us."

Liberal Democrat leader Paul Elgood said his party had councillors in two wards rather than one and had made progress at the polls.

RESULTS (* indicates sitting councillor)

BRUNSWICK AND ADELAIDE: Elected - * Paul Elgood (LD) 1,222, *David Watkins (LD) 1,103. Not elected - Hazel Ellison (G) 389, Daniel Fox (L) 622, Nigel Furness (Independent) 63, Harry Haynes (C) 269, Valentine Hogan (Independent) 47, Felicity Tanous (G) 291, Debra Wade (C) 266, *John Warmington (L) 542.

CENTRAL HOVE: Elected - Averil Older (C) 1,092, Jan Young (C) 1,062. Not elected - * Mark Barnard (LD) 847, *Jenny Barnard-Langston (LD) 884, Michael Butler (G) 327, Jacqueline Da Costa (G) 291, Alun Wynne Jones (L) 513, Christopher Wainwright (L) 544.

EAST BRIGHTON: Elected - *Gill Mitchell (L) 1,545, Warren Morgan (L) 1,451, Craig Turton (L) 1,223. Not elected - John Barrow (LD) 682, Richard Bowden (LD) 770, Ed Faulkner (C) 1,062, Diana Hicks (G) 623, Julia Knowles (G) 475, John McLeod (Socialist Labour) 176, Ian Middleton (C) 976, Thomas Stokes (LD) 553, Stephen Watson (G) 396, Sally Wells (C) 1,017.

GOLDSMID: Elected *Simon Battle (L) 1,495, Anne Giebler (C) 1,521, *Vince Meegan (L) 1,490. Not elected - Bob Bailey (LD) 1,100, Ron Bakere (LD) 877, Susan Board (G) 881, Jenny Deadman (G) 633, Steve Harmer-Strange (C) 1,456, Gordon Hudson (G) 541, Jo Lake (LD) 1,019, *Brian Rowe (C) 1,451, * Frieda Warman-Brown (L) 1,463.

HANGLETON AND KNOLL: Elected - Brian Fitch (L)* 2,550, Gerry Kielty (L)* 2,394, Peter Willows (C) 2,449*. Not elected - Dawn Barnett (C) 2,315, Matthew Dunton (G) 207, Lucette Forrest (G) 448, Jean Jones (G) 270, Gregory McAusland (Independent) 149, David Newland (Socialist Alliance Against The War) 210, Emily Pearson (LD) 477, David Sears (LD) 517, Lee Shingles (LD) 434, James Thompson (L) 2,175, *Stephen Wade (C) 2,123 HANOVER AND ELM GROVE: Elected - Joyce Edmond-Smith (L) * 1,886, Bill Randall (G) 2,198, Georgia Wrighton (G) 1,895. Not elected - *John Ballance (L) 1,722, David Fellows (Socialist Alliance Against The War) 266, Graham Hunnable (LD) 450, Robert Jarrett (G) 1,382, Martin Lindsay-Hills (LD) 460, Luke McCabe (C) 466, Peter Neish (C) 455, *John Newington (L) 1,510, Diana Owen (LD) 517, James Roochove (C) 489.

HOLLINGBURY AND STANMER: Elected - *Tehmtan Framroze (L) 1,680, *Pat Hawkes (L) 1,711, *Jeane Lepper (L) 1,882. Not elected - Anthony Ackroyd (G) 669, Matthew Barker (LD) 494, Ian Fyvie (Socialist Labour Party Anti War) 190, Hector Gow (LD) 375, Tony Greenstein (Independent) 329, Roger McCabe (C) 977, Amelia Mills (G) 478, Carol Ramsden (C) 1,006, Steven Sorrell (G) 339, Michael Weatherley (C) 914, Ellen Woolley (LD) 457.

MOULSECOOMB AND BEVENDEAN: Elected - *Jack Hazelgrove (L) 1,632, *Anne Meadows (L) 1,635, *Francis Tonks (L) 1,659. Not elected - Andrea Bain (LD) 614, Joan Champion (C) 933, Kate Chapman (G) 539, Brian Dando (C) 903, Paul Durden (LD) 500, Ian Hills (UK Independence Party) 197, Bernard Huggins (LD) 495, Barry Mills (G) 399, Ian Needham (G) 322, Martin Smith (C) 891.

NORTH PORTSLADE: Elected - *Bob Carden (L) 1,897, *Don Turner (L) 1,755. Not elected - Ann Barnard (LD) 408, Anthony Barnard (LD) 350, Tim Catt (C) 863, Harinder Gill (C) 728, Deborah McElroy (G) 307, Guy Richardson (G) 152.

PATCHAM: Elected - *Brian Pidgeon (C) 3120, *Carol Theobald (C) 3,003, *Geoffrey Theobald (C) 2,970. Not elected - Derek Betts (L) 1,421, William Chalmers (L) 1,083, Elizabeth Fakhr (G) 436, Phillip Jones (L) 1,057, Geraldine Keenan (G) 392, Daphne Latimer (LD) 736, David Latimer (LD) 702, John Lovatt (LD) 580, AlisonVarey (G) 367.

PRESTON PARK: Elected - *Kevin Allen (L) 1,551, George Mallender (G) 1,951, *Juliet McCaffery (L) 1.623. Not elected - Christopher Anderson (LD) 885, Marie-Anne Bezencon (C) 856, Andrew Garrood (C) 919, Birgit Gutheridge (LD) 871, Trefor Hunter (LD) 788, Laurence Littman (G) 1,342, *Mike Middleton (L) 1,448, Alison Plaumer (G) 1,462, *Pamela Stiles (C) 827.

QUEEN'S PARK: Elected - *Ken Bodfish (L) 1,713, Simon Burgess (L) 1,647, Delia Forester (L) 1,614. Not elected - Joseph Blease (LD) 695, Robin Dean (C) 947, Douglas Janke (LD) 602, Elizabeth Robinson (LD) 775, Mjka Scott (G) 895, Pat Smith (C) 922, Nigel Tart (G) 1,147, Rebecca Whale (G) 810, Michael Williams (C) 911.

REGENCY: Elected *Dawn Davidson (LD) 770, *Roy Pennington (L) 736. Not elected - Kevin Donnelly (LD) 731, Michael Fisher (L) 720, Thomas Hickey (Socialist Alliance Against The War) 146, John Hutchinson (C) 464, Hugh Barney Miller (G) 413, Joyce Pidgeon (C) 435, Ian Andrew Poyser (G) 696.

ROTTINGDEAN COASTAL: Elected - *Lynda Hyde (C) 3,270, Mary Mears (C) 2,880, *David Smith(C) 2,910. Not elected - Geoffrey Bowden (G) 749, Harold De Souza (LD) 805, Joy De Souza (LD) 805, Renzo Ferrari (British National Party) 314, Susan Gilson (G) 545, Roger Page (L) 839, Hitesh Tailor (L) 744, Gregory Taylor (G) 474, Lisa Winter (LD) 591, Norman Wright (L) 940.

ST PETER'S AND NORTH LAINE: Elected - Sue Paskins (G) 2,266, *Keith Taylor (G) 2,347, Simon Williams (G) 2,254. Not elected - Ruth Berry (LD) 623, Paul Bowes (C) 474, Carole Franklin (C) 474, James Gowans (C) 471, Madelaine Hunter (LD) 637, Gerald O'Brien (I) 123, William Parker (LD) 517, *Christine Simpson (L) 1,200, Harry Spillman (L) 1,103, Rob Stephenson (L) 1,094.

SOUTH PORTSLADE: Elected - *Les Hamilton (L) 1,347, *Sue John (L) 1,085. Not elected - Janette Ackroyd (G) 206, Richard Biggs (C) 835, *Steve Collier (Independent) 804, Christopher Fry (G) 214, Michael Long (C) 718, Neville Searle (LD) 287, Nicola Searle (LD) 303.

STANFORD: Elected - *Jayne Bennett (Independent) 1,771, *Vanessa Brown (C) 2,497. Not elected - Roy Alldred (LD) 417, Peter Denyer (LD) 275, Patrick Gill (L) 467, Nicole Murphy (L) 436, Alan Pegg (G) 241, Michael Switzer (C) 1,700, Molly Taylor (G) 150.

WESTBOURNE: Elected - *Denise Cobb (C) 1,431, *Brian Oxley (C) 1,482. Not elected - Don Brown (L) 904, Philip Dymond (G) 358, David Jones (L) 813, Valerie Paynter (LD) 661, Anita Phillips (G) 225, Brian Ralfe (LD) 553.

WISH: Elected - *Ted Kemble (C) 1,522, *Garry Peltzer Dunn (C) 1,616. Not elected - Susan Baumgardt (G) 324, *Heather James (L) 1,368, *Pat Murphy (L) 1,242, Stephen Potts (LD) 454, Robert Stockman (LD) 296, Elizabeth Wakefield (G) 215.

WITHDEAN: Elected - *Pat Drake (C) 2,800, *Ann Norman (C) 2.758, *Ken Norman (C) 2,726. Not elected - Iain Findlay (L) 1,192, Peter Garratt (LD) 1,000, Derek Hall (LD) 853, Gareth Jones (L) 1,073, James Lea (G) 745, Lynn MacKenzie (G) 680, Donald McBeth (LD) 930, Jane Peckham (L) 1,135, Fiona Williams (G) 472.

WOODINGDEAN: Elected - *Dee Simson (C) 2,456, *Geoff Wells (C) 2,500. Not elected - Ray Blackwood (L) 947, Stella Pentecost (G) 218, Season Prater (LD) 289, Tim Prater (LD) 292, Malcolm Prescott (L) 885, Paul Ward (G) 153.