Latest council snapshot: Conservatives down 31 councils, Labour up 12, Lib Dems up 7.
Latest councillor snapshot: Conservatives down 638 seats, Labour up 323 seats, Lib Dems up 234 seats.
The Conservatives have lost control of East Hertfordshire. The Greens are now the largest party, after they gained 18 seats and the Tories lost 27. We have retained Reigate and Banstead, Rushcliffe, and North Kesteven, whilst losing Central Bedfordshire, Wealden, and Runnymede to no overall control.
Labour has held Gedling, Wolverhampton, Chesterfield, and Bury. They have gained Erewash from the Conservatives and Gravesham from no overall control. Folkestone and Hythe, East Devon, Maldon and Malvern Hills remain under no overall control.
The Liberal Democrats have clung onto St Albans and gained Mid Devon and Teignbridge from no overall control. As mentioned below, Curtice predicts they will be on 40 seats after the next election. A similar result to 1997, perhaps, where anti-Tory tactical voting more than doubled their seats but their vote share fell.
We were staring at a Labour majority of over a hundred a few short months ago. Heck, at one point during the Truss era it looked liked we’d mimick over Canadian counterparts and be wiped out completely. That Labour are underperforming their poll lead – which itself has halved since October – leads me to only one conclusion: that it’s worth putting a fiver on the Tories being the largest party after the next election.
Latest council snapshot: Conservatives down 25 councils, Labour up 10, Lib Dems up 4.
Latest councillor snapshot: Conservatives down 470 seats, Labour up 264 seats, Lib Dems up 151 seats.
William Atkinson here again. Some losses to report. The Conservatives have lost Rugby, Pendle, Staffordshire Moorland and Tewkesbury to no overall control. We have held Blaby and Flyde – and gained Torbay from no overall control.
The Liberal Democrats have gained South Hams from us, whilst Labour has gained Bracknell Forest. The Liberal Democrats have held Winchester, Eastbourne, and Chelmsford. Labour has lost Slough but gained North East Derbyshire, Middlesbrough, Broxtowe, and High Peak from no overall control. They have held Luton.
Basingstoke and Deake remain a hung council, and Elmbridge, North Somerset, and Babergh also remain under no overall control. The Greens have gained Mid Suffolk, after defeating the Tory leader earlier today.
Whilst one commiserates with all those unsuccessful Tory candidates, the most important news of the hour is that John Curtice, the Strathclyde Cassandra, has unveiled his vote share projection:
That nine-point lead is the largest Labour have been projected to have since losing power in 2010. If repeated at a general election, Curtice predicts it would translate into 312 seats for Labour, 226 for the Tories, and 40 for the Liberal Democrats.
At 26 per cent, the Tory share is two down from what it was in 2019, but not as low as their lowest since 2010, which was 25 per cent in 2013. This is also the best performance for the Liberal Democrats since they joined the Coalition. A few ‘Blue Wall’ – what an appalling term – MPs will be feeling slightly nervous this evening.
Latest council snapshot: Conservatives down 21 councils, Labour up six, Lib Dems up three.
Latest councillor snapshot: Conservatives down 374 seats, Labour up 222 seats, Lib Dems up 91 seats.
Two important Labour misses to report. Darlington remains under no overall control. In North Warwickshire, the Conservatives lost to no overall control – but Conservatives are still the largest party.
The Conservatives have lost control of Cannock Chase and West Devon. But the Conservatives have held Fenland – gaining a couple of seats.
Labour has gained Blackpool from No Overall Control. Labour has also held Norwich, Crawley, and Cambridge.
The Lib Dems have easily gained Stratford-on Avon from the Conservatives, the Lib Dems put on another 14 seats. The Lib Dems have also gained Dacorum and held Three Rivers in Hertfordshire.
Milton Keynes continues to be hung – Labour gained seats. Wokingham also continues to be under no overall control – the Conservatives lost three seats. Forest of Dean is also still hung.
Latest council snapshot: Conservatives down 16 councils, Labour up six, LibDems up one.
Latest councillor snapshot: Conservatives down 299 seats, Labour up 174 seats, Lib Dems up 75 seats.
Labour has gained Swindon. This was one of their main targets.
An important projection from Professor Michael Thrasher, Sky News election analyst:
“With all 1.7 million votes counted from the overnight declarations it becomes possible to narrow down the national estimated share for the main parties with a general election likely some time next year. It pays to be cautious with over 150 councils and more than six thousand seats still to decided.
“Based on the analysis of change in vote share across 900 wards, the eventual Conservative share is projected to lie between 28-30%, while for Labour the range is 36-38%. The Liberal Democrats, making steady seat gains, are projected to win 18-20% share. The share for others has the largest spread – 16-19%.
“Assuming a uniform national swing, these vote shares and applying them to the seats decided at the last general election suggest that Labour is on course to become the largest party at the next election but falling short of winning an outright majority.”
That is bold of Thrasher to crunch the numbers with many results still to come. But if that proves correct we are looking at a single figure Labour vote share lead – which on past form would be not good enough for them at this stage in the electoral cycle.
The Conservatives have lost control of Bromsgrove – losing seats to Labour, the Lib Dems and independents. The Council is now hung.
Labour has gained East Staffordshire from the Conservatives. This was expected but was an important target. All the seats were being contested – which makes a change of control much easier than when only a third are up. The best indication of performance is who won the most seats actually being contested. For instance, the Conservatives held Walsall which had only a third of the seats being contested. That was not a surprise. But a genuine achievement was that the Conservatives won most of the seats up for election – 13 went to the Conservatives, with seven to Labour. Sheffield remains hung with Labour as the largest Party. With only a third of the seats being contested, it would have been hard for Labour to gain overall control. But no seats changed hands. Labour should have been expecting at least some gains.
The Conservatives have held Solihull (gaining a couple of seats), East Cambridgeshire and Epping Forest. Hyndburn continues to be hung – but Labour lost a couple of seats to the Conservatives. Tunbridge Wells also continues to be under no overall control.
Labour held Calderdale, Leeds and Kirklees.
Latest council snapshot: Conservatives down 12 councils, Labour up three, LibDems up one.
Latest councillor snapshot: Conservatives down 265 seats, Labour up 150 seats, Lib Dems up 66 seats.
Harry Phibbs here.
The Conservatives have lost control of Maidstone, though remaining the largest Party there.
Labour has held Rossendale with an increased majority. Jake Berry, the MP for Rossendale and Darwen, gained the constituency from Labour in the 2010 General Election.
The Conservative Leader of Mid Suffolk has lost her seat to the Green Party.
Burnley stays as a hung Council. Labour gained a couple of seats but the Conservatives also gained a seat.
It will probably be a few hours before we get the projected national vote share calculations. If Labour’s lead is below ten per cent, can they still convincingly claim to be on course for an overall majority at the next General Election? In the 2009 local elections, the Conservatives under David Cameron were 15 per cent ahead of Labour, on that measure. Of course, that didn’t prove quite enough for an overall majority at the General Election the following year. Under Ed Miliband’s leadership Labour’s best year for local elections was 2012, when they were seven per cent ahead. Not enough even for a hung Parliament in the subsequent General Election.
But apart from the national vote share, it is important where the gains and losses are taking place. The key is not just to get the right number of votes but to get them in the right places, to paraphrase Eric Morecambe. Labour has lost a few seats to the Lib Dems in Gateshead and Newcastle. Labour has lost a couple of seats to the Green Party in Knowsley. But this is unlikely to mean they will lose Parliamentary seats. Also, the Conservatives may lose seats to independents in some places and win some back in others. But the same voters may still back the Conservatives at a General Election.
Latest council snapshot: Conservatives down eleven councils, Labour up three, LibDems up one.
Latest councillor snapshot: Conservatives down 254 seats, Labour up 138 seats, Lib Dems up 64 seats.
The Conservatives have hung on in Walsall, but have lost Welwyn Hatfield to no overall control. This will please a Tory-hating ex-girlfriend of mine who lives there, but not so much Grant Shapps, the local MP.
But all is not all gloom and down for Conservative prospects. John Curtice has pronounced that Labour’s local election performance is “not the kind” that “Blair was achieving” before his party’s 1997 landslide.
Since Labour needs a swing larger than that which they achieved 26 years ago to even win a majority of one (with a new Scottish caveat) and, Curtice suggests, the swing to them is under that in the opinion polls, it seems Starmer’s earlier carping that he was on his way to a majority was a tad premature.
Latest council snapshot: Conservatives down ten councils, Labour up three, LibDems up one.
Latest councillor snapshot: Conservatives down 234 seats, Labour up 122 seats, Lib Dems up 63 seats.
William Atkinson here. The results have slowed to a trickle for the time being, so focus temporarily shifts to looking into the entrails. Keir Starmer has claimed Labour is on course for a majority whilst visiting Medway (which went red for the first time in 20 years), whilst John Redwood and David Jones have both suggested voters are punishing the Tories for higher taxes.
But one other story of the morning so far is the gains made by the Lib Dems. They have taken Windsor and Maidenhead council, where it gained 13 seats from the Conservatives, with swings of 20 per cent in some wards. This has provided Ed Davey with the opportunity to stand next to a giant clockface, which I suppose is nice for him.
Should Theresa May be worried? It depends on whether this is simply your average local election displacement activity, or if the Lib Dems are really motivating disillusioned Tories and the anti-Conservative bloc vote in the area into a genuine force. In 1997 (the election where May joined the Commons) tactical voting meant the Yellow Peril gained 28 seats whilst their national share of the vote shrunk.
Latest council snapshot: Conservatives down nine councils, Labour up three, LibDems up one.
Latest councillor snapshot: Conservatives down 190 seats, Labour up 138 seats, Lib Dems up 59 seats.
The easiest course for these LiveBlogs to take is simply to record gains and losses – so since I last wrote the Conservatives have lost South Gloucestershire, South Kesteven and East Hertfordshire to NOC.
What they are sometimes less adept at doing is highlighting councils that a party on the defensive have held, or where it hasn’t won the council but has had limited losses or even made gains.
Harlow falls into the former camp for the Conservatives (though note it elects in thirds); Peterborough and Bassetlaw into the latter camp. One view is that campaigning by the local MP – or the absence of it – makes a lot of difference.
So for example, even his worst political enemy would concede that Rob Halfon is an energetic political campaigner in Harlow. Harry Phibbs wrote in his pre-election analysis that it would be difficult for Labour to win there this year.
Source: Daily Telegraph.
9am Paul Goodman reporting
Colin Rallings, of Rallings and Thrasher fame, says it is “accepted wisdom” that Labour needs a 12 per cent swing from the Conservatives to win an overall majority at the next general election.
That cautious formulation covers a range of views. One is that Labour requires a swing of 10 per cent to win a majority of even one. Another is that it needs one of 13 per cent for the same purpose. A pollster source suggests that the real figure is 15 per cent.
Politicos poll of polls currently shows Labour with a poll lead of 16 per cent. So were a general election to take place today (which it won’t) and were that lead to be reproduced in it (which it might not), Keir Starmer would have a majority ranging from the narrow to the workable.
As an indicator of the next election result, yesterday’s local elections were complicated by where they take place, how many candidates from the main parties stood where, the better performance of the Liberal Democrats in local elections than in general elections, and the solid presence of independents – plus the Greens.
The main parties will try to draw your attention to the number of seats they have won, held or lost, and have been playing the usual expectations game. As Harry Phibbs suggested on this site yesterday, vote share, suitably adjusted, is a more reliable indicator.
Two main adjusted figures will come into play over the next few days. Politico reported yesterday that John Curtice will produce a Projected National Share (PNS) this afternoon, while Rallings and Thrasher will come up with a National Equivalent Vote Share (NEV) for the Sunday Times. Sky News will also publish a projection today.
Until all that information is public, I’d be a bit cautious of drawing conclusions. But as matters stand, the Conservatives have lost a council to Labour (Medway), another to the Liberal Democrats (Windsor and Maidenhead) and five to No Overall Control (Hertsmere, East Lindsey, Tamworth, Brentwood and North East Leicestershire, according to the Daily Telegraph.)
Labour has taken two councils from No Overall Control: Stoke-on-Trent and Plymouth. The BBC reports the Conservatives as having lost 219 councillors so far, Labour as having gained 119 and the Liberal Democrats up by 57. There are also four Mayoral elections taking place today: in Bedford, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesbrough.
We also wait to see to what extent the results will have been affected by the introduction of compulsory ID for voting in England. Obviously, yesterday’s results will have been good for Labour. They performed badly at the equivalent set in 2019 under Jeremy Corbyn. In May of that year, YouGov found them at 24 per cent. The most recent YouGov tracker has them at 41 per cent.
The Conservatives also performed badly in 2019, as an unresolved Brexit haunted Theresa May: the party was at 24 per cent then too, according to YouGov. But in the wake of the year of three Prime Ministers, and amidst very hard economic times, their current YouGov rating is only 27 per cent.
So beware of spin which attempts to persuade you that the Tories should be doing better than the opinion polls, recent local election results and Parliamentary by-elections suggest. It has everything to do with internal Conservative manoeuvering and not much to do with objective political reality.
So all in all, the Tories will have done badly and Labour well – and how badly and how well we will see. Curtice’s snap verdict is that the results suggest Labour will win the most seats at the next general electionm but that it is “uncertain” if Sir Keir Starmer will secure a majority.
He said last night that the $64,000 question is “in particular whether Labour can get an overall majority in their own or whether they will simply do well enough to be able to form a minority administration in a hung parliament. I think the answer to that question was uncertain before yesterday and I think it is still uncertain this morning.”