LABOUR has only just held onto power in one of its safest North-East councils.

The party was left with a three-seat majority on Derwentside District Council after a surge of support for the Independents.

Labour lost eight of the seats it had held on the authority, which it has controlled since inception in 1974.

The final state of the parties was Labour 29 seats, Derwentside Independents 24 and Liberal Democrats two.