The Conservatives have stormed to victory in the local council elections wrenching control away from Labour.They won an extra 20 seats last night (Thursday) taking their majority to 37, at the same time ousting former council leader Leo Thomson and other cabinet members.

Recent scandals rocking the national party in the last few weeks were the main focus of blame among Labour councillors, as was the hugely unpopular West London Tram scheme.

Labour won a total of 29 seats, with the Liberal Democrats winning just three. The final declaration was made at 5.15am today (Friday), and the borough is seen as a benchmark for general election forecasts.

New leader of the council Jason Stacey said he was "surprised but delighted" by the result.

He said: "I thought at best we would be able to knock them into a position of no overall control, but I am absolutely delighted. It is quite humbling."

He also stressed his party's opposition to the West London Tram, saying: "People made their choice. On May 18 there will be a special council meeting to discuss its future. Transport For London need our co-operation, but we are going to become aggressive opposers to the scheme."

Departing leader Leo Thomson said the party had been "the victims of very, very bad national press". She said: "The way the media have turned local government elections into what has become a referendum on national politics is not good for local democracy."

She admitted the tram had played a big part in the way people had voted, saying it had been "a very bad night".

John Delaney, former cabinet member for streets and the environment, was one of the casualties in the Acton Central ward, which changed hands completely from Labour to Conservative, with the Tories all the seats.

And in Northfield and Perivale wards there were more clean sweeps by the Tories to take all three seats.

Another high-ranking departure was Martin Beecroft, former cabinet member for finance, who lost his seat in Walpole along with two other Labour councillors, in a further Conservative whitewash.

For more analysis and reaction read the printed edition of the Ealing Times on Thursday, May 11.