UK polling station
It was close but the straw managed to swing the balance of power in Northumberland. Reuters

Up and down the country the Conservatives have performed well in local elections, but an unlikely threat has shot down hopes of taking control of a council.

In Northumberland, the Tories needed 34 seats to take control of the county council but ended up on 33.

In the end it all came down to one council ward.

After two recounts in South Blythe, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories each had 356 votes.

So then the two candidates drew straws.

Daniel Carr for the Conservatives and Lesley Rickerby for the Liberal Democrats each drew straws and the latter won the draw, denying the Tories control of the council.

The result means that the council will be hung, but the Tories still command a large lead.

Nationally, the Conservatives had a good night, making gains in most areas. The Labour party suffered big losses but there are still some good results expected in Liverpool and Manchester.

Ukip took a tumble in the polls, they struggled to hold onto any seats and face a near electoral wipeout.

The Lib Dems had modest gains in some areas but not at the levels they may have expected.

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