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The Tories have held onto power in the City's Council elections but they have lost five seats.
They hang on to overall control with 32 seats ahead of labour on 25 an overall majority of seven.
The most high profile casualty of the night was cabinet member Joan Watkins who lost her Stoke seat by a majority of 400, she had won it from labour in the 2007 general election.
About 20,000 people are understood to have returned postal ballots – but about 10per cent of those did not vote in the referendum on changing the way MPs are elected.
The referendum count on AV will start on Friday evening.
The Liberal Democrats best chance of gaining a seat were dashed when Leader of the party in Plymouth Rebecca Trimnell finished third in the hotly contested Drake ward.
Turnout around the city was reported to be low with 30-45% of the electorate voting.