The Liberal Democrats’ dismal performance in the borough elections has sparked a need for a left-wing coalition opposition to scrutinise the council, their leader in Richmond has said.

The Liberal Democrats lost nine seats to the Conservatives in last week’s election, but said the fragmented opposition made up of their party plus Labour and the Greens received the majority vote.

Councillor Stephen Knight, Lib Dem leader in Richmond, said: “Our group of 15 councillors will work hard to provide robust challenge and scrutiny to the administration over the next four years.

“The election results in Richmond demonstrate that far from being a solid Tory borough, there is still a majority of votes cast for the progressive parties: Lib Dem, Green and Labour.

“However, against the backdrop of the national coalition, it proved impossible to assembly this local majority behind the Liberal Democrat banner and the Conservatives have benefited.

“If we are to see a better outcome in four year’s time, then progressives must start working together to build a new united front in 2018.”

Councillor Geoffrey Samuel, deputy leader of Richmond Council, said this election saw a change in opposition voting.

He said: “The opposition has not gone away, but it has certainly become more fragmented.

“Their vote collapsed to some extent. Labour did less well than I expected and some of the Greens did remarkably well.”

He said the Tories vowed to freeze council tax until 2016, when it would be raised by as little as possible.