Jim Grant is remarkably cheerful and upbeat for a man who has just lost an election.

Maybe it’s because the office he uses as leader of the opposition Labour group at Swindon Borough Council is rather bigger and even posher than the office the actual leader, David Renard, uses. Coun Grant’s has room for a conference table and even a sofa, though on the downside it’s down a corridor in one of the lesser regarded postcodes of the civic offices.

At the start of the local election campaign in April, the Labour group only had to take one seat from the Conservatives to take the council into no overall control - the one seat majority was trebled by Matthew Courtliff, who had won Lydiard and Freshbrook on a Labour ticket in 2016, when he joined the ruling Tories a week before the polls.

But after a poor night for Labour, the Conservatives now hold a five seat majority, but Coun Grant, like any football manager, is taking the positives out of it.

He said: “We lost Old Town by 15 votes, we were within 45 in St Margaret and South Marston, we were close in Lydiard and Freshbrook. If there’s less rain in the afternoon and evening on the day of the election, who knows what happens?”

Although not winning any additional seats on a night where Conservative were losing more than 1,300 elsewhere was disappointing, Labour in Swindon actually increased its vote share by eight per cent to match the Tories on 39 per cent. Coun Grant isn’t too enthused: “I think that’s more to do with the Conservatives who don’t really bother to campaign where they don’t think they’re going to do anything, so they don’t get many votes in those wards.”

And both Coun Grant and Coun Renard agree that Brexit, and the national situation overwhelmed any local politics at this election: “We just couldn’t get our message heard, it was totally drowned out the way people feel about what’s going on it Parliament.

“It was very frustrating, because we had a good manifesto.”

Where will the Labour group try particularly to change the administration’s policies? “Well, we still think Swindon deserves better. We don’t have enough enforcement officers so parking is a problem, there’s a lot of fly-tipping that’s not being dealt with, because there aren’t the resources.

“Housing is a major area- homelessness is on the increase - we think the answer is to build more council houses, which will not only provide more housing, but bring the price of other houses down, and that all helps. But the Conservatives insist it’s all got to be done by the market, and I don’t think it’s working.”

Swindon’s electoral system means Coun Grant will get to have another crack at an election next May - what will his message be: “It’ll be the same. We still think Swindon deserves better; better housing, better roads, better children’s services.

That’s still our message - I just hope this Brexit stuff is all put away so we can get our voice heard by the people of Swindon.”