Labour is poised to snatch power in Merton from the Conservatives after a shock local election victory.

The party won 28 council seats to the Tories 27, defying voting trends in the general election following a dramatic seven-hour count on Friday.

The Conservatives narrowly lost two seats to the Liberal Democrats in West Barnes and one seat to Labour in Abbey ward.

Merton Park Independents now hold the balance of power with three seats and have pledged to support Labour at a full council meeting on May 26 when a new leader will be elected.

Labour leader, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, said: “We're delighted to be taking back the reins. These are difficult times for local authorites across the country but Merton has put its faith in the caring party, and that's Labour."

Outgoing leader, Councillor David Williams, said: “We have no regrets - I'm proud of my campaign and my party. The result turned on a handful of votes in two wards and we have to respect that."

Coun Williams resigned on Monday. Councillor Debbie Shears has taken over as leader of Merton's Conservative group.