ONE twenty second exchange at a polling station in Mudeford on Thursday evening seemed to sum it up.

One woman emerged from casting her ballot to berate the Conservative candidate in a vitriolic, finger-wagging tirade.

“I’d like to thank you for selling the borough out,” she said. “Eighty four per cent of us voted against the merger but you and others supported it. You are a disgrace and that’s why you are not getting our vote.”

The Christchurch Conservatives were always going to be on a hiding to nothing in the elections, not least when five of their councillors (all who fought against the merger with Bournemouth and Poole) decided to quit the party and stand as a new brand, the Christchurch Independents. In all ten stood and eight were elected on a wave of anti Tory sentiment.

They were Margaret Phipps and Colin Bungey in Commons, former leader David Flagg and Simon McCormack in Burton Grange, Mayor Lesley Dedman and Paul Hilliard in Mudeford and West Highcliffe and Nick Geary and Nigel Brooks in Highcliffe and Walkford.

Among those defeated were former leader and deputy leader Ray Nottage and Claire Bath who both backed merger and Colin Jamieson and Trish Jamieson who told the Echo: “We have been slaughtered.”

Ray Nottage was one of the architects of the merger plan.

The two town centre seats were claimed by the Liberal Democrats’ Mike Cox and the town’s sole Tory Peter Hall.

Cllr Phipps, who was elected as a Christchurch Independent in the Commons ward with Colin Bungey, said: “It looks as though the people of Christchurch have sent a clear message to the Conservatives. You have let us down and they want people to stand up for us.

“It is essential that we now work together with others for the good of our borough and to make this new council work for everyone. We must make it a success.”

Cllr Bungey added: “The Conservatives have only got themselves to blame for the collapse of their vote. They ignored the wishes of 84 percent of the residents in the referendum and paid the price.”