GREGORY Stafford has taken over as leader of the Conservative opposition group on Ealing Council after David Millican stepped down from the role.

The Conservatives suffered a heavy defeat in the borough election, managing to secure just 12 seats, half as many as they managed at the 2010 elections.

The new leader now faces four years in opposition against a Labour party, led by Julian Bell, which holds 53 of the 69 council seats.

Cllr Millican, who was re-elected in his own ward of Northfield, said: “With fewer opposition councillors, it will be harder for us to hold the current administration to account, but we will remain vigilant.”

On a difficult evening for the Conservatives last week, they lost all three council seats in Walpole and Greenford Green and two in Cleveland.