THE new leader-elect of Harrow Council said it is a “truly wonderful day” after Labour were returned to power.

Councillor Bill Stephenson led the Harrow Labour group to a stunning defeat of the Tories by winning ten seats and a majority on the council.

His party now has 34 seats, compared to the Conservative's 27, putting it in the driving seat for the next four years.

Cllr Stephenson said: “At the moment, I'm shell shocked. I don't think any of us expected this, but we always thought the last election was a lot closer than people gave us credit for.

“This is a truly wonderful day, like it was in 1998 when we took the council for the first time.

“I am looking forward to having a team of experience and youth, making sure we provide the services Harrow residents really want.”

Several high profile Tories lost their seats in an election that was loaded with shocks and surprises from the very start.

Independent James Bond won a seat in Headstone North at the expense of Eric Silver, the current Mayor of Harrow.

In West Harrow, both Julia Merison and Anjana Patel, who was in charge of schools in the borough, were swept out of office by Labour who claimed all three seats.

And in Tory stronghold Harrow-on-the-Hill, Labour claimed two of the three seats up for grabs as Independent candidate and former Tory Eileen Kinnear split the Conservative vote.

The Liberal Democrats have been left with just one councillor in Harrow – Chris Noyce – after Paul Scott lost his seat in Harrow Weald in the only Conservative gain of the election.

David Ashton, retiring council leader, said the result was “totally unjustified” given the Tories' record of four years in power.

He said: “We have turned this council around and that has been totally ignored by the electorate.

“It just shows what happens when the local election is overwhelmed by the General Election.”

A host of new councillors will report for duty at Harrow Civic Centre on Monday, and Labour under Cllr Stephenson will start to make plans for the next four years in power.