9pm:Labour do seem to be doing better in London thatn elsewhere. They have mad gains from the Lib Dems in Southwark and Camden – also from the Conservatives in Ealing. Winning the Mayoralty in Tower Hamlets looks close but may be just of reach. It has gone to a second ballot.
8.45pm: Conservatives celebrate victory in Trafford
8.30pm: The Green Party has made net gains of 17 councillors in the results so far.
6pm: With 136 out of 161 councils declared Labour have only made net gains of 267 – Rallings and Thrasher had projected around 500 in total – based on council by-election results.
— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) May 23, 2014
5.40pm: Boris Johnson: “The Conservatives remaining he largest party in local government is a good augury for the General Election….Ed Miliband should not measure up the curtains in Downing Street.” However Labour is the biggest party in the Local Government Association.
5.35pm: The Conservatives have defeated Kelvin MacKenzie in St George’s Hill Ward on Elmbridge Borough Council.
5.25pm: Conservatives gain Stepping Hill in Stockport from Lib Dems, which is in the marginal Cheadle constituency. Also Hazel Grove Ward in Stockport from Lib Dems, which is in the
marginal Hazel Grove constituency.
5.10pm: Labour lost overall control of Great Yarmouth.
5pm: The Conservatives have held Trafford.
Vote share in Plymouth: Con – 30.8, Lab – 31.4, UKIP – 31.6. #Vote2014
— Martyn Oates (@bbcmartynoates) May 23, 2014
4.35pm: The Lib Dems have held Cheltenham.
4.25pm: Labour have gained control of Harrow – or held control if you compare with last election. Also the Conservatives have a higher share of the vote.
4.20pm: Electoral Calculus calculates that Labour’s two point lead in the local elections would mean an overall majority of ten in the House of Commons – if repeated at the General election next year.
4.15pm: The Conservative vote share is four points up on the local elections last year.
4.05pm: Congratulations to 18-year-old Cllr Lyle Davy who gained a seat for the Conservatives from the Lib Dems in Pendle. He is Britain’s youngest councillor.
3.45pm: The BBC project that Labour are only two points ahead on national vote share:
3.40pm: Labour MP Diane Abbott tells Sky News that there’s “an argument that Ed could do with better staff work..why he was allowed to eat a bacon sandwich lord only knows.”
3.30pm: Labour MP John Mann tells the BBC: Labour’s results are “the fault of Ed Miliband and all the people at the top of the Labour Party.”
3.25pm: The Lib Dems have not been entirely wiped out. They have held South Lakeland, Three Rivers, Sutton, the Lib Dem directly elected Mayor of Watford is back in.
Labour has won all three seats in a place called Chipping Norton.
— Patrick Wintour (@patrickwintour) May 23, 2014
3.15pm: Michael Thrasher on Sky News: “Labour will feel frustrated that it hasn’t been able to perform as well as might be expected for a party that is looking forward to the next general election.”
3pm: Labour lose control of North East Lincolnshire. Labour are on 21, Conservatives on 10, UKIP on eight and three Lib Dems.
2.30pm: Crawley has fallen to Labour, as the Conservatives lose four seats.
2pm: While I doubt we’ll see any infighting over the election results, there will obviously be various ideas floated within Conservative circles as to what to do next. We’ve already heard three Tory MPs propose a pact with UKIP (an idea filleted swiftly by Paul, here). Now Michael Fabricant has pitched in, suggesting an alternative approach:
If the Conservatives and Lib-Dems want to re-establish their brand identity b4 GenElec2015, they must break the Coalition. Cons can be 1/2
— Michael Fabricant (@Mike_Fabricant) May 23, 2014
2/2 Cons must be a minority government. Not in Lib-Dems interests to have early GenElec so wld oppose any Labour “No Confidence” vote.
— Michael Fabricant (@Mike_Fabricant) May 23, 2014
1.40pm: Senior figures from each party starting to turn up in the locations of their good news. Here’s Grant Shapps in Kingston:
— Darren McCaffrey (@DMcCaffreySKY) May 23, 2014
1.28pm: I really cannot emphasise enough the patchwork nature of these results – local elections are always influence by issues on the ground and personality politics, but this is further complicated by the venture into four-party politics. There’s no single lesson that applies uniformly. Take Hastings, for example, in what you might assume is prime UKIP territory – a seaside borough in Nigel Farage’s Euro constituency, with a mix of Tories and working class Labour voters. Instead of the “earthquake” some might have expected, in fact UKIP lost their only councillor in the borough.
1.15pm: Here is the BBC’s calculation of the latest change in the vote for each party:
12.52pm: All 15 Lib Dem councillors in Brent have lost their seats. We must of course remember that Sarah Teather is stepping down in 2015 for reasons of pure principle, nothing to do with the annihilation of her local party.
12.45pm: Redbridge, Thurrock, Castle Point, Brent, Brentwood, Cambridge, Portsmouth, Swindon, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kingston upon Thames – Sam Coates of The Times picks out his ten most important results, and explains why.
12.40pm: “We are the Conservative Party; we don’t do pacts and deals,” David Cameron tells the BBC. Has anyone told the Lib Dems?
12.32pm: It’s far from all sweetness and light in the Labour camp – there seems to be a growing feeling that UKIP have caught them napping:
— Nicholas Watt (@nicholaswatt) May 23, 2014
12.25pm: The loss of Hammersmith and Fulham, which Labour are gleefully reminding everyone was “David Cameron’s favourite council” is one of the day’s worst blows. Stephen Greenhalgh, the former Council Leader of H&F who pioneered their radical approach and who is now Boris’ Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, has issued this statement:
“This is a bitter blow for Councillor Nick Botterill and his team. H&F Conservative council lowered council tax by 20% and halved the council’s debt in just 8 years. We put our residents first by delivering cleaner streets and securing 13 green flags parks. Crime also has fallen by a quarter since 2006. We paid for 44 officers in our town centres and always worked closely with the police to fight crime. H&F has been transformed into a borough of opportunity with 6 new free schools opening, 1000 affordable homes to buy and ambitious plans to regenerate some of the most deprived parts of the capital.”
12.10pm: Aside from UKIP’s gains, The Telegraph’s cartoonist skewers Nick Clegg’s unhappy band:
Noon: Labour have just gained Amber Valley from the Conservatives – after 14 years of blue control. The local Tory leader is in no doubt about who is to blame:
Conservative leader in Amber Valley says Labour was let in by UKIP — Gareth Owen (@GarethITV) May 23, 2014
11.50am Ken Livingstone pops up on the BBC to say “Labour would govern for everyone”. He has apparently forgotten the division and controversy stirred up by, er, him. 11.30am: Thanks to Pete for standing in for me during that interview – Mark here again. A quick round-up of the councils which have changed hands: Labour gains:
No Overall Control gains:
10.40am: So far – despite disappointing results such as, say, Hammersmith & Fulham – today has been relatively free from turbulence for the Tories. But could that change? The Bow Group has sent around a press release calling for Grant Shapps to be replaced with a directly elected chairman. Here’s what their own chairman Ben Harris-Quinney has to say:
“The Conservative Party has ignored the rise of UKIP and is haemorrhaging voters as a result, but the fundamental problem is that it has ignored conservative principles, its members and voters for too long. The carry on regardless, business as usual approach still being advocated by the leadership isn’t going to work, we need urgent reforms to be enacted now, not after 2015. This needs to start immediately with the election of a new Party Chairman within 6 months, to begin the process of reform the Party needs to win back members and explore an accommodation with UKIP, not by insulting UKIP voters but by finding a way to work with UKIP to unite the right in Britain.”
10.23am: Just a quick note from Pete Hoskin: I’ll be briefly taking over from Mark while he appears on the telly. Do tune into the BBC News at around 10.30am to hear his take on the results so far.
10.14am: As well as local election results day, it is also of course George Osborne’s birthday today. Happy Birthday, Chancellor.
10.05am: Okay, we’re four hours in on the live blog so it’s time for a quick summary of the headline figures. With 61 councils declared, the Conservatives control 17 (-8), Labour control 26 (+3), the Lib Dems control 2 (-1) and 16 are in No Overall Control (+6). One of those NOC councils, Castle Point, is reportedly going to be run by a UKIP/Independent coalition. In terms of councillor numbers, the Conservatives have 1123 (-88), Labour have 1330 (+90), the Lib Dems have 365 (-64), UKIP have 105 (+83) and there are 11 Greens (+1).
9.46am: Greg Hands attributes the defeat in. Hammersmith and Fulham to Lib Dems switching to Labour – a potentially ominous sign for 2015: “Disappointing results in some wards in Hammersmith and Fulham. Overall, increase in Labour vote almost identical to fall in the Lib Dem vote.”
Give Labour credit for this: from Kinnock to Brown to Miliband, it’s loyal to its leaders, even when they’re serial losers. Great for Tories — Simon Richards (@simplysimontfa) May 23, 2014
9.20am: Nigel Farage is citing Paddy Ashdown’s construction of the Lib Dem councillor base in the 1990s – as we’ve pointed out before, Ashdown is the author of the campaign manual UKIP are now following religiously.
9.05am: One theory before the election was that UKIP would perform disproportionately well in areas where they had been energised by parliamentary by-elections in the last couple of years. It’s a patchy correlation so far – in Rotherham they’re now the official opposition, but in South Tyneside (covering the South Shields constituency) they’re still only on one councillor and in Eastleigh, scene of one of their best by-elections, they haven’t picked up any seats at all. So much for that theory.
9am: The Conservatives have consolidated their lead on Richmond upon Thames, taking an extra 9 seats from the Lib Dems. This is almost a complete reversal of the picture from 2006, a remarkable swing.
8.52am: Croydon Conservatives’ leader Mike Fisher puts the blame for Labour’s victory at UKIP’s door, saying they let Labour in:
8.49am: Labour’s decent outing in London continues – they’ve gained Redbridge from No Overall Control, the first time they’ve ever had a majority in the borough. Croydon is now a confirmed Labour gain.
8.40am: I’ve already mentioned UKIP’s comparative underperformance in London. It’s interesting to note that in Merton, where a clutch of defections from the Conservatives gave them several experienced councillors – including Suzanne Evans who has been a mainstay of their team of spokespeople – they suffered a wipeout. Evans’ national profile evidently didn’t translate into a UKIP vote in her ward.
8.19am: Further to my earlier post about the increased prospect of coalitions in local government, the BBC is reporting that UKIP intends to run Castle Point in coalition with the independents. Stepping up to the plate like this is a big gamble – the Greens rang the bells when they took control of Brighton, but have been wringing their hands since as they’ve made an absolute mess of managing the council. For a smaller party, it can be a swift learning curve – unless, of course, they have councillors who previously served wearing other parties’ rosettes.
8.08am: The hurly-burly in London continues. Labour have declared victory in Croydon, while the Lib Dems have lost Kingston – one of our key targets in the capital – to the Conservatives. The only glimmer of good news for the yellows is that they’re still in charge in Sutton.
7.52am: For the central party machines, once the voting is over the battle to hold the spin line begins. It’s fair to say that last night wasn’t a classic example of holding the line. We had our own hiccoughs:
leader of Basildon Cl, lost seat to UKIP, says David Cameron “just doesn’t get it as far as Europe and immigration are concerned — Ross Hawkins (@rosschawkins) May 23, 2014
For Labour, Graham Stringer MP criticised an “unforgivably unprofessional” campaign by his party, while golden boy Chuka Umunna MP tried to pretend his party wasn’t bothered about its underperformance in Swindon:
Chuka saying that we weren’t majorly focussed on Swindon. Ed went there this week and it’s a 2015 target. We wanted to win it surely — Mark Ferguson (@Markfergusonuk) May 23, 2014
But the Lib Dems’ Lynne Featherstone MP took the prize for most unhelpful intervention. Early on in the night, she must have had Clegg reaching for another gin when she wrote this damning headline for her party’s troubles:
7.48am: Michael Gove is on the BBC right now tweaking Labour’s nose about their failures to break through – citing Tamworth, Gloucester, Peterborough, Worcester and Thurrock as examples of Ed Miliband’s lack of headway.
7.42am: We’ve lost overall control of Maidstone – it’s now Con 25 (-5), LD 19 (no change), Ind 5 (no change), UKIP 4 (+4), Lab 2 (+1). It’s a good example of the impact of four party politics, in that we will see more coalitions or minority administrations across the country after last night. There’ll be a lot of focus on UKIP in various places to see who they decide to throw their lot in with – remember they chose to put the Lib Dems and Labour in power in Norfolk last year, so there’s no guarantee they won’t help the left.
7.32am: While Hammersmith and Fulham has fallen, the Conservatives have held Wandsworth – Labour gained six seats, taking them to 19 in total, but the Tories held on to 41.
7.29am: Winston Mackenzie, the UKIP candidate who ‘organised’ the party’s UKIP Carnival earlier this week, has lost. It turns out that calling the area you’re standing in “a dump” is not as effective as he thought.
7.15am: You’ll note I haven’t mentioned the Lib Dems yet. In short, they’re taking a battering – they’ve suffered a net loss of 82 councillors so far and lost control of Portsmouth (where Mike Hancock was thrown out by voters). In numerous seats where they were once in contention they have almost vanished – for a party builty on councillors, this is debilitating in the long term, as well as a short term humiliation.
7.06am: In politics, as in other aspects of life, London is of course a different country. Not only is UKIP’s performance so far much less impressive, but Labour is achieving some troubling victories. Most shockingly, Hammersmith and Fulham – a tax cutting stronghold in recent years – has fallen to Labour, with 11 seats changing hands (though my colleague Harry Phibbs survived). Elsewhere in the capital, Merton has shifted from No Overall Control to being Labour-run and they’re looking pretty bullish elsewhere.
6.55am: Notably, Labour’s attacks have been blunted in several areas where they expected to do better. They lost control of Thurrock as UKIP ate into both main parties’ seats, and in Walsall Labour fell one seat short of a majority as UKIP picked up three councillors. In Swindon, made famous by Ed Miliband’s car crash interview earlier this week, not only did Labour fail to make progress, the Conservatives increased their majority:
6.42am: Reactions to the insurgents’ impact on the Conservative Party will vary. Overnight, three MPs – Douglas Carswell, Peter Bone and Jacob Rees-Mogg, called for some kind of pact.
6.30am: As in previous elections, that UKIP surge has hit the Conservatives hard – for example we’ve lost overall control of Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point and Southend on Sea, previously viewed as heartlands. That said, it seems Labour are starting to suffer in their traditional territory, too – in Rotherham, UKIP have won ten seats, unseating the council leader and deputy leader:
UKIP got average of 47% in Rotherham where it stood — Michael Heaver (@Michael_Heaver) May 23, 2014
6.12am: As you can see from those headline numbers, UKIP are already making sizeable gains – approaching the 100 which Harry Phibbs said would make it a good performance, with the majority of councils still to count. The first hints of the unpredictable results brought about by four party politics came with Sunderland’s results – UKIP failed to gain any seats, but they scored strong seconds across the city, and Labour and the Conservatives both unexpectedly lost a seat to each other.
6am: Good morning! Mark Wallace here, welcome to the ConHome live blog of the local election results. We’ll be covering the results – and in particular how they affect the Conservative Party – as they come in all day.
Before we look at some of the highlights (and lowlights) from overnight, here are the overall figures. With 57 councils counted, Labour control 26 (up 1), the Conservatives control 15 (down 8), the Lib Dems control 1 (down 1) and 15 are in No Overall Control (up 8).
In terms of councillors, the totals are: Labour 527 (up 77), Conservatives 416 (down 94), Lib Dem 11 (down 76), UKIP 87 (up 86), Independent 31 (up 8), Greens 4 (up 1).