Lib Dems 20, Tories 7

2.30am: Eastbourne Liberal Democrats have gained control of Eastbourne Borough Council after a night of spectacular success.

They grabbed Sovereign and Old Town Ward, plus two seats in Tory heartland Upperton.

This gives them an extraordinary 20-7 majority on the council.

Casualties of the night included Tory leader Ian Lucas in Old Town, cabinet finance lead member Chris Williams (Sovereign) , Eastbourne Buses chairman Patrick Warner (Sovereign) and Upperton's Bob Lacey.

The Lib Dem path to victory began when they took control of all three seats in Sovereign, ousting the Tories who have previously held the ward.

Then came an extraordinary result in hitherto safe Tory ward Upperton where Lib Dems Alex Hough and Rebecca Madell were elected at the expense of established Tories Bob Lacey and Ann Murray.

Graham Marsden held his seat to save the Tories from a rout.

The Lib Dems comfortably held on to the Devonshire ward and Langney, with two new candidates taking a massive share.

They also retained their stronghold of Hampden Park where Mike Thompson, Mary Pooley and Olive Woodall were re-elected, and swept in again at St Anthonys.

In at Sovereign are Lib Dems Michael Bloom, Susan Morris and Margaret Salsbury.

Out go sitting councillors Patrick Warner, who is chairman of Eastbourne Buses, and cabinet member Chris Williams. New face Tracey Moles was also defeated.

The Tories retained their safe Meads and Ratton wards.

Lib Dem Leader David Tutt said, "We always knew that we had a great chance in Sovereign Harbour as well as Upperton and Old Town.

"We knew that it was going to be a close thing. What surprises me is the size of the majority.

"We had a wonderful team in Sovereign which has spent many months dealing with the desperations of local people.

"This evening, those people have received their rewards".

Tory MP Nigel Waterson voiced his party's shock.

He said, "It's disappointing when the Conservatives are gaining ground across the whole country but clearly the result in Eastbourne was affected by a couple of local issues like parking and the councillors allowances.

"The Lib Dems have made some extreme campaign promises that has led to this result.

"We have this extraordinary swing back and forwards between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives in Eastbourne.

"But tonight's results have been very disappointing for us".

ALSO see: how the night unfolded.

FOR the full results click here.