THE Conservatives in Monmouthshire will be looking to forge alliances with other parties after losing their overall majority for the county.

The party won a total of 19 seats at Thursday's vote, a significant drop from the 29 seats they secured in 2008's local elections, and three short of the figure needed for an overall majority.

Conservative leader Peter Fox, who retained his seat in Portskewett, said yesterday it was early days.

He said: "We will have to come together to consider what options are available. We need to find the best solutions to put forward the key areas of improvement in the county.  "It will require us to talk to other councillors and find the best way forward."

The number of Independent councillors rose from one to ten, Labour gained three seats from seven to ten, while the Liberal Democrats lost one seat falling from four to three and no Plaid Cymru councillors were successful.

Four former Tory councillors triumphed as Independents candidates - Bob Hayward retaining his seat in Dixton with Osbaston, Alan Wintle in Drybridge, Graham Down in Shirenewton and Val Smith in Llanbadoc.

During his speech, Cllr Hayward thanked the people in his ward for leaving their "Conservative roots".

Former Labour councillor  John Marshall retained his seat in the Green Lane ward after becoming an Independent and former Liberal Democrat representative James George was re-elected for the Lansdown ward as  a member of the Labour party.  Former council leader Andrew Crump, who has represented Raglan for the past 21 years, lost his seat to Conservative candidate Penny Jones by just nine votes.

Mr Crump described his 21 years of service as "glorious", but said he would not be back in local politics.

Six out of the 43 seats across 42 wards were uncontested Goetre Fawr, Llangybi Fawr, Llantilio Crossenny, Mitchel Troy, St Arvans and Usk.

Turn out across the county for the vote was 38.3 per cent.