Tories avoid Local Government Polls Disaster

Tories avoid Local Government Polls Disaster

Kerry Wise
May 6, 2018

"We haven't gone forwards and if we are looking to form an election-winning majority, we can not be confident of that happening based on the results yesterday", the Streatham MP told Radio 4's World At One.

The Labour Party has so far failed to gain control of a single council targeted by Momentum and its Unseat campaign.

Although there were no major shocks, it was a day for bright young things in the borough with 19-year-old Lib Dem candidate Tom Whipp, the son of party stalwart David Whipp, winning the Barnoldswick Coates ward from the Conservatives. Some seats were gained in Wakefield and Leeds - traditional Labour areas.

As so much BBC news was devoted to describing Labour's election night as a story about anti-Semitism, many took to social media to say imagine how this story would have been reported if the Labour Party had done something so despicable to win a council. "As a district, we have got rid of the last BNP councillor in the country, but a racist is now propping up the council as a Conservative".

Following last year's Cornwall Council elections Labour and the Labour and Co-operative Party picked up just five seats out of the 123 up for grabs.

It seems many Labour voters weren't particularly motivated to get out to the polls, with Jeremy Corbyn's party only making very small gains.

Holding Conservative strongholds in London's Westminster and Wandsworth boroughs is seen as the dividing line between a bad day and a awful day for May. "Rosemary Carroll is an excellent local councillor".

Labour had high hopes for the night, and have won Plymouth from the Tories and gained Kirklees from no overall control but lost Nuneaton and Bedworth and Derby.

In Barnet it needed to gain just one seat to take control, but instead the Conservatives became the majority party in the borough.

A Labour source has, however, denied there was ever a victory parade planned for tonight saying Mr Corbyn's plans were "always flexible".

"In a sign of how anxious they are about Labour's advance, the Tories talked up our chances to unrealistic levels, especially in London", he said.

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"The results show they are right to be anxious: we came within a whisker of winning Wandsworth for the first time in over 40 years".

Meanwhile, in Worthing, the Conservatives won eight seats, Labour four, and the Liberal Democrats one. Labour, on the other hand, fared best in Remain-supporting areas, where the Liberal Democrats also benefited from a recovery in support.

They also took Kingston-upon-Thames and South Cambridgeshire, as well as Three Rivers Council which had been under no overall party control.

While the party made some gains, it failed to win key target seats. We came here to defend ten seats.

Repeated at a general election, the United Kingdom would be heading for another hung parliament, suggesting that public sentiment has barely shifted since Jeremy Corbyn wiped out Theresa May's Commons majority previous year.

The results will be a relief for May, whose leadership has been in question since she called an unnecessary general election last June in which she lost her parliamentary majority. Many claim that had the vote share been the same at a general election, we would be facing a hung parliament.

The national local election picture.

The Ifield and Southgate wards were their top targets, and they lost both by a whisker - Labour held Southgate by 14 votes and Ifield by nine.

Our estimates, based on evidence gathered by electoral observers, reveal the shocking scale of the problem. The city had a 27% voter turnout.

However Cornelius Olivier, Labour councillor at County Hall, said he thought there could be a shift towards Labour in the next local elections, adding: "The results for Plymouth were some of the best for Labour in the country".