VOTERS have elected to return the Conservative administration to power in Barnet Council.

The Tory group gained three seats from the Liberal Democrats but lost one to Labour during a frantic day of counting at the North London Business Park.

Swathes of voters had gone to the polls yesterday to cast votes in the 21 wards across the borough in what is thought to be one of the highest turn outs in recent years.

The Conservatives now have 39 seats on the council, with Labour taking 21 and the Liberal Democrats three.

The Liberal Democrats lost two Mill Hill seats to the Conservatives, as well as one in High Barnet, while Labour gained one from the Conservatives in Coppetts ward.

Council Leader Lynne Hillan said after the final Coppetts result, which was read out just before 6pm: “We are delighted to have increased majority. Feel very much now that we have got a mandate from the residents of Barnet to serve them for another four years.

“This year we have been able to get the finances under control after several years of prudence and produced a zero per cent council tax increase.

“I would like to thank the residents of Barnet for their support and the residents of Brunswick Park for electing me for a fourth term.”

The Labour group dismissed the “success” of the Conservatives, claiming residents had “rejected the waste and mismanagement” of the Party.

Councillor Alison Moore, leader of the Labour group said: “This is a dismal result for the Barnet Conservatives, and their leader Lynne Hillan, who talked of 'turning Barnet blue' in this election.

“I am delighted that we have kept all our hard working Labour councillors and increased the size of the Labour Group as well.”