DORSET Council elections have followed the national trend with wins for the Liberal Democrats and Greens, a good showing for the Independents, and some unexpected losses for the Conservatives.

Because the council is new and wards have changed comparisons with previous results are impossible to make.

Shadow Dorset Council leader Rebecca Knox was among the first to be returned – although by her own admission, with a lesser majority than she would have liked, barely 150 votes ahead of the second placed Liberal Democrats, Chris Turner.

She admitted it has been a nail-biting process as the votes were counted.

“It was close but the ward is now a totally different shape than it used to be and other issues crept in,” as might be expected, she said, “But I will be continuing to serve the people of Dorset, something which I am passionate about.”

She would not be drawn on whether she would be standing for the role of council leader, assuming the Conservatives, as expected, win a majority.

Green candidate Jon Orrell won a thumping victory in Weymouth Melcombe Regis, a fact he modestly insisted was not so much down to his hard work but people waking up to the threat being faced by the planet, all helped by recent national and international news stories about climate change. His vote, of 691 was more than 450 ahead of the Conservative Candidate James Farquharson and 500 ahead of the Labour party, Tia Roos.

In the Charminster St Mary seat Dorchester's David Taylor trounced the nearest candidate Conservative Tim Yarker with 846 votes to 472.

Mr Yarker admitted that Brexit had played a part as well as changes to the ward.

He said he would be following closely Mr Taylor's election pledges to stop the proposed Dorchester North housing scheme.

Mr Taylor said he had not been confident of the vote but said he had worked hard to get around the constituency.

“It's a great result – you wouldn't believe how pleased and relieved I am. I'm now looking forward to getting started,” he said.

Simon Christopher beat Independent Jacqui Sewell by 752 to 595 votes for his Marshwood Vale seat, kissing his Conservative rosette in celebration.

The ward saw one of the highest turn outs of the day, 50.3 per cent with five candidates in the contest.

The other candidates, for Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Green, between them failed to attract as many votes combined as the second-placed candidate.

Shadow cabinet member Steve Butler, Conservative, lost to Liberal Democrat David Took by a narrow 18 votes.

He said the defeat had partially been due to national issues but also a controversial 2,400 home development in Alderholt.

“A lot of voters spoilt their papers with comments about Brexit,” he said, reflecting what other candidates had found. Typically up to half a dozen papers might be rejected in wards, but this count has seen 20-plus in many areas.

Turn out for most of the wards has so far exceeded 40 per cent. The anticipation is that the result is likely to end with a Conservative majority on the new council,

The counting is currently expected to continue until at least 7pm for the 82 seats which have been contested by more than 300 candidates.

Returning officer Matt Prosser said that the process had, generally, gone smoothly and praised his team of 160-plus tellers for their professionalism.

The process starts again on Saturday, also at the Redlands Sports Centre, for more than 400 candidates across more than 50 wards where contests are being held.