Labour has maintained its grip on power at Reading Borough Council but opposition parties have managed to maintain their seats.

Buoyant national polling could have seen the Labour party sweep out Conservative and the Green party opposition.

But ultimately Reading voters opted for the status quo, with only one ward changing hands.

Labour newcomer Sam Juthani was successfully able to unseat Conservative councillor Paul Carnell, who was elected in 2019.

Celebrating, Mr Juthani tweeted: “So so proud of being elected Labour & Co-operative Councillor for Caversham Heights.

“And excited to join a great group of ⁦Reading Labour councillors!

⁩”I will do my utmost to serve my ward to the best of my ability. I’m grateful and proud to have earned your trust.”

Cllr Clarence Mitchell, the Conservative group leader and Emmer Green representative said the Conservatives will “regroup and fight on”, and expressed hope former cllr Carnell will get elected next year.

There were indications cllr Carnell was in trouble as he came third in the all-out elections in 2022.

Cllr Carnell held a seat on the influential planning committee, strategic environment, planning and transport committee and traffic management sub-committee.

The Conservatives experienced some success, with Northern Irish historian Stephen Goss holding the Emmer Green seat vacated by Harry Kretchmer.

Reading Chronicle: Stephen Goss, elected Conservative representative for Emmer Green. Credit: James Aldridge LDRSStephen Goss, elected Conservative representative for Emmer Green. Credit: James Aldridge LDRS

In Kentwood, incumbent cllr Raj Singh fended off Labour’s Mamuna Naz. Cllr Singh got 1,171 votes to Mamuna Naz’s 1,016 – a 155 vote majority.

Cllr Singh had been chided by deputy council leader Tony Page (Labour, Abbey) at council meetings prior to the elections.

Celebrating, cllr Singh said: “I would like to thank Kentwood residents for their support and I will always put them first and I can’t thank them enough.

“I thank my Conservative association and Sir Alok Sharma [MP for Reading West] for always supporting me.

“Residents have shown it’s hard work that wins their vote, not hashtags.

“I wish Tony Page the very best. He is up for election next year, last year he got 876 votes.

“We will campaign hard in Abbey ward.”

Reading Chronicle: Raj Singh, re-elected Conservative councillor for Kentwood. Credit: James Aldridge, LDRSRaj Singh, re-elected Conservative councillor for Kentwood. Credit: James Aldridge, LDRS

Most of Reading is safe Labour territory, with the party’s incumbents all winning comfortably.

Cllr Alice Mpofu-Coles, the Labour candidate in Whitley has now won three elections in a row in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

She’ll be joined by Labour newcomers Ama Asare in Thames ward and Amjad Tarar in Battle ward.

In the battleground area of Redlands, cllr Will Cross, who was elected at the all out elections kept his place on the council.

He faced off stiff opposition from Green candidate Kate Nikulina, who fell short by 160 votes – getting  to cllr Cross’ 1,194.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Cross said: “I’m really happy. I’ve been working really hard, I was only elected for a one year term, I have been working flat out.

“I’m pleased that my message has got through to residents about having a Labour voice for Redlands, and in my year that I’ve had some good wins for the ward, like seuciring a narrow bin lorry and my successful campaign against estate agents signs, and I think that’s really been reflected in the results.”

Meanwhile, the Greens maintained their position as leaders of the opposition, with incumbent cllr Doug Creswell holding onto the battleground of Katesgrove.

Cllr Creswell got 1,048 votes to Labour runner up Marg Cobb’s 832, a majority of 216.

Incumbent Green cllr Josh Williams kept his seat in Park, and will be joined by Sarah Magon, who will take the place vacted by Green cllr Brenda McGonigle.

And in Tilehurst, Anne Thompson for the Liberal Democrats was able to win again after being elected to the council in last year’s elections.

Reading Chronicle: Reading Liberal Democrat councillors. Credit: James Aldridge LDRSReading Liberal Democrat councillors. Credit: James Aldridge LDRS

The composition of the council is now:

Labour – 32

Greens – 7

Conservatives – 5

Liberal Democrats – 3

Independents – 1

The turnout was 30.1 per cent.