Dorothy Thornhill comfortably secured her fourth consecutive term as Watford’s mayor beating her nearest rival by almost double.

The Liberal Democrat did not get enough first preference votes to secure an outright win in the first round of counting.

But she then saw off Labour challenger Jagtar Singh Dhindsa in the second round after UKIP’s Phil Cox and Conservative candidate Linda Topping were knocked out of the running.

Mayor Thornhill described the win as a vindication of the “controversial decisions” made during her last term in office.

She said: “The overwhelming feeling is gratitude. I’m absolutely humbled by the trust the people of Watford have put in me, especially as this has been a quite a controversial term of office.

“We’ve had to take some tough decisions, we’ve had to do things that were controversial with some people so I guess to me this is a vindication of these decisions.

“My job now is to finish the job I started and make Watford an even better place to live.”

The incumbent won with 14,193 total votes, compared to Dhindsa’s 7,504 votes.

She managed 11,741 votes on the first round and picked up a further 2,452 in second preferences.

Nearest rival Councillor Dhindsa secured 6,577 in the first round and another 927 in the second round.

But Councillor Dhindsa was proud of his effort, saying Labour had challenged Mayor Thornhill this election.

He said: “I feel great. It was a great team effort, I’d like to thank my team on a great job.

“We’ve come from third place to second and we’ve seen UKIP off, which was a threat in Watford, and I think we are now in a strong position to take the Parliamentary seat in Watford.”

Watford Observer:

Jagtar Singh Dhindsa (centre).

Councillor Dhindsa continued that he didn’t think Mayor Thornhill will stand for her whole four year term, but is convinced she will run in the Parliamentary elections next year.

He said: “I don’t think she will complete her term of four years. We have been asking this question a long time and even today I heard her say she has not made her mind up.”

Mayor Thornhill said she was still undecided about whether or not to run for Parliament, but added: “I love this job, I really do.”

She said she hadn’t been able to think about anything beyond this election.

UKIP’s Mr Cox came third gaining 3,789 first preference votes – a mere 316 more than last place contender Conservative Linda Topping.

Mr Cox admitted he was disappointed with the showing.

He said: “I am disappointed with the result. I had hoped to have done a bit better.”

Mrs Topping, who finished last with 3,470 first preference votes, said: “I am happy with the campaign we ran, I have confidence in the MP and we heard some very positive things when out on people’s doorsteps.”