by 'Returning Officer'
All the votes in yesterday's local elections have been counted and the results for Durham County Council look like this:
Labour: 67 seats
Lib Dem: 27 seats
Independent: 22 seats
Conservative: 10 seats
They are the bald statistics, but let's have a look behind them.......
As you can see, Labour took control, with the Lib Dems in second place - but Labour won far fewer seats than their worst nightmare. (Our source within the Party revealed their private forecast was that they would be 'doing badly' if they got "only" 80!)
Surveying the numbers will be an uncomfortable experience this morning for Council Leader Albert Nugent - he may have topped the poll in Deneside but even he will be wondering where exactly he can go from here.....
Can he possibly survive? We don't know for sure, but we wouldn't bank on it.
One thing that does seem certain is that we're about to see a real power struggle begin between councillors from the North and South of the County.
There's an old Chinese proverb that says ' may you live in interesting times'.
One thing's for sure: life within the Labour Party in Durham is about to get very 'interesting' indeed. Watch this space.....