Basingstoke's council leader has said he was not expecting to "win so handsomely" after his party claimed a comfortable majority.

Ken Rhatigan was the leader of the Conservative minority administration on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council before the election and saw his party claim 33 seats to leave him with a majority of 12.

Among the highlights for him was taking two councillors in Winklebury & Manydown and Brookvale & Kings Furlong.

READ MORE: BDBC results in full

Reacting to his party's efforts shortly after the final result was declared, Cllr Rhatigan told The Gazette: "There was no expectation we would win so handsomely but after seeing the hard work put in I knew they had put as much as they could to win the electorate."

Cllr Rhatigan, who took over as council leader in 2019, had been very coy about his chances in the run-up to the election, and was nervous about his seat ahead of results.

READ MORE: BDBC results day as it happened

"At times it is a very lonely path being a leader but whe the team come together there is a realy sense of achievement.

"I am delighted we took 2 out of 3 councillors [in Winklebury & Manydown]. That is going to be an amazing new community.

"I hope that as time goes by people will get to enjoy Manydown but also a improved town centre and the offerings we will ensure that the leisure park is as wonderful as it should be."

Cllr Rhatigan will not automatically become council leader again; the 33 Conservative councillors will now meet and vote on who should lead the party and form an administration.

He did confirm that he would be throwing his hat into the ring and added: "I would hope that the faith I have put in my candidates will mean that they have some faith in me.

"I expect that there will be an election, I don't know who else will stand but I will be putting my name forward."