INDEPENDENTS took control of Blaenau Gwent council as Labour saw their majority disappear on a disappointing night for the party.

The majority of 30 Labour councillors to 12 Independents was swept aside on a dramatic night, leaving Labour with only 12 elected councillors with one ward with three seats still to be declared.

With the Blaina ward still to be recounted, Independents took 25 seats, Labour 12, Plaid Cymru one and one other seat unspecified.

Amongst the casualties for Labour were Brian Scully who narrowly missed out on re-election in the Badminton ward to Greg Paulsen, Independent.

In Beaufort David White lost out to Independent Stewart Healy, while in Brynmawr, the last seat to be declared, Barrie Sutton narrowly missed out on re-election.

Plaid Cymru, who fielded three candidates, made a gain as Gareth Davies was elected in Cwm, at the cost of Labour’s Keren Bender.

Labour held on to three of four seats in Tredegar Central and West, with Independent Mandy Moore replacing Labour’s Anita Hobbs.

Conservatives, who fielded three candidates and the Green Party, who had just one standing, failed to gain any seats.

Leader Steve Thomas, who was re-elected in Tredegar, said it had been a “difficult” night for Labour.

“It has been a very difficult night for Labour both in Blaenau Gwent and nationally,” he said.

“We have lost some really good candidates and colleagues tonight, but the Labour group will provide a positive challenge going forward in what are really difficult times.

“We have had to make difficult decisions as a local authority as a result of budget cuts by the Government.”

Cllr Thomas said the council would now be led by an Independent councillor.

Dai Davies, an Independent who was elected for Ebbw Vale North, said the result showed people wanted change.

A former Labour supporter, he said his former party had moved to far away from its grassroots.

He said Independent candidates had discussed working together and would be able unite.

Labour MP Nick Smith blamed the result on a "kickback" to changes to waste and recycling by the council.

He said government cuts had forced the council to make difficult decisions.