ILMINSTER's Val Keitch was the leader of South Somerset Council heading into yesterday's election.

The Liberal Democrat and former mayor of Ilminster was celebrating today after the results came in.

As well as a strong turn out for her party, Val secured the most votes in the Ilminster district council election.

She also retained her seat on the town council after an uncontested election.

After the Liberal Democrats' majority on South Somerset District Council was secured, Val described it as a "wonderful, stunning victory."

"We expected to win but not by that margin," she said.

"It is about the massive amount of work our candidates have done.

"It bodes well for the future. We have a settled council, and are our development plans for Chard, Yeovil and Wincanton, we can actually now get that done. Those projects will be completed.

"We have got a very good green agenda and we are going to examine that in more detail and see what the council can do.

"We also have transformation that needs to be finished, and our commercial strategy is beginning to pick up so that we can have a council which is in a good stable state and we have everything we need for another four years.

"Thank you to all the people who came out to vote for us.

"Without them nothing happens. They have spoken at the ballot box."

Yeovil Express:

On whether Brexit had an immpact on today's result, Val said: "Of course it did, it would be silly not to say that.

"I think it did, but at the end of the day there was a message on a national level to the government, but it showed that the Lib Dems locally have done a good job."

Val said that she hopes to stay on as the council leader, but that remains up to the newly formed council.

She also thanked specificallt the people of Ilminster.

She added: "I am delighted that they placed their trust in my for another four years.

"I will do my best to work hard for them, and make it clear I am a candidate for everyone in Ilminster."