Harrow’s Labour Group increased its majority in the 2018 borough elections on a topsy-turvy day at Harrow Leisure Centre.

It secured 35 seats – an increase of one from 2014 – to maintain control of the council.

The borough’s Conservatives had been optimistic of wrestling a majority from their rivals, but it proved a step too far as people generally backed the status quo.

They raced into a lead of 12 seats – though none of the results were surprising – and a tense recount in Kenton East left Labour Group leader Sachin Shah feeling nervous.

But once returning officer Hugo Peart announced that Labour had stolen two seats in Harrow-on-the-Hill, including that of deputy Conservative leader Barry Macleod-Cullinane, there was no looking back.

Cllr Shah, who comfortably retained his seat in Queensbury, said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic – this is the largest number of Labour councillors we’ve had in Harrow.

“We’ve faced a barrage of negativity but fortunately the people of Harrow have seen straight through that.

“If you look at what we’ve done over the past four years, it speaks for itself. We built the first new council houses in a generation, and we promise to build more.

“We’re also redeveloping the social housing on Grange Farm Estate, providing people with good quality places to live.”

He expressed his delight at securing a clean sweep in Harrow-on-the-Hill, as well as filling out Rayners Lane ward for the first time.

He added that it was great to see so many new faces step forward and believes they will perfectly complement the experienced heads on the council.

The Liberal Democrats lost its only seat in Rayners Lane and failed to build on the excellent momentum seen across the rest of the UK.

The Conservatives held onto their 28 seats by taking the two vacancies in Headstone North, which had been held by Independent councillors.

Cllr Paul Osborn, leader of Harrow Conservatives, said he was “disappointed” not to have come away with an overall win as, he believes, “the people of Harrow deserve a better council”.

But he was satisfied with “holding the line” and said he would continue to confidently lead the opposition as his party looks to the future.

He said: “We always expected that it would be tough. And fair play to Labour they put a lot of resources into this, assembled the troops, and have done very well.

“But we’ll be working hard for the residents in our wards. We’ve held our position and we’ll make sure to be an effective and forceful opposition when we don’t agree with Labour.”