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Anti-Tory coalition leaves party reeling and ministers at risk after polls disaster

In Hertfordshire’s towns, as across much of formerly ‘true blue’ England, the appetite for change proved decisively strong

It was little more than a year ago that Oliver Dowden stood up at Conservative spring conference to praise the “calm suburbia of Hertfordshire”, home to his own Hertsmere constituency, and vowed to defend the “privet hedges of a free people”.

But after Thursday’s local elections, the deputy prime minister’s proverbial privet hedges now have gaping holes in them. For the first time this millennium, his party lost control of the true blue Hertfordshire council.

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