Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Hillingdon election results on Friday was the rapidity with which they were delivered – confirming the status quo of Tory domination.

The first wards were declaring by 10.55am – barely 90 minutes after the army of volunteer counters and Hillingdon Council electoral staff sat down at the tables in Brunel University’s indoor running track and opened the ballot boxes.

The turnout last Thursday was 35.76 per cent, down more than two per cent on the last borough vote in 2006, with the three candidates with the highest totals (two in Harefield) taking the seats in each ward.

However, the day began with a shock in the first ward to declare, Charville in Hayes. A former mayor, Conservative councillor Mary O’Connor, was unseated, pushed into fourth spot as Labour took two of the three seats.

 

But in the borough as a whole there was to be no general meltdown, no huge swing, no change of control from Conservative – and no people’s champion, as the independents trailed in some way behind their party-affiliated opponents.

The council leader, Ray Puddifoot, was delighted with his party retaining control. “It’s an overwhelming vote of confidence and we will continue to put residents first in the coming four years,” he said.

But, although the Conservatives have lost only one seat since 2010, he acknowledged Labour’s small gains, and in particular the ‘swing in the south’.

The Conservatives had won 15.9 per cent of the votes in the Heathrow Villages in 2010. In 2014, Labour took control of the ward with 16.8 per cent.

One of the decisive factors had to be UKIP fielding two candidates, said Mr Puddifoot. “It might not have worked had UKIP not taken a percentage of the vote from Conservative candidates,” he added. “But that is democracy for you.”

Labour leader Peter Curling said the results had been encouraging, on a day when his party did well in London as a whole. “We increased our result substantially in a number of wards and managed some surprise gains, in particular Uxbridge South,” he added.

“It was good to take back the seats in the Heathrow Villages. Where you have split wards, it’s nice to reunite them again, so the whole representation is your party.

“The result means local people have Labour councillors fighting their corner and protecting their jobs against any prospect of closure at Heathrow Airport, and also fighting future expansion of the airport.”

The chairman of Hillingdon UKIP, Cliff Dixon, suggested his party’s spirits had been buoyed by the results, even though it failed to secure any seats. In 2010, UKIP managed 600 votes but this year its candidates polled a thumping 17,000 between them. The party had increased is candidates from just one to 24, one in each of 20 wards and two in Heathrow Villages and South Ruislip.

Mr Dixon said: “It’s disappointing that we didn’t get one of our councillors elected, but we came close.”

It was a bad day for the Lib Dems, who failed to get a single councillor elected. The party’s former leader on Hillingdon Council, Mike Cox, said: “The Liberal Democrats had a dreadful election day, which to a large extent reflects our national position of being the junior partner in a government which has had to take some very difficult decisions,” he said.

“The Conservatives did very well in Hillingdon, despite significant concerns by many people over their position over the future of Heathrow. The Labour party must be disappointed not to have made more gains in the circumstances.”

The final standings were Conservative 42 seats, Labour 23, Others 0. For ward by ward results visit www.getwestlondon.co.uk.