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The scale of Conservative losses in the councils that have declared so far are heavy but predictable in terms of the current opinion polls and the massive margin of Conservative victory four years ago. But what is disappointing is that there wasn't more local variation. Some councils where we have done a good job – such as Southampton and Wirral – were gained by Labour anyway. But the Conservatives winning Swindon -  where all the seats were up for election – was heartening

In Wales, where Labour has failed to deliver a Council Tax freeze, they have still made a significant recovery.

It is also disappointing that the Conservatives have not made the sort of compensatory gains from the Lib Dems we saw last year. Indeed in Portsmouth and Cheltenham rather than the Conservatives gaining power from the Lib Dems we lost seats to them. However the Conservatives gained control of Winchester.

Of most significance are the votes for directly elected mayors which at the time of writing have been rejected in Manchester, Nottingham, Coventry and Bradford. A missed opportunity for localism and a victory for establishment interests.

19 comments for: A bad night for the Conservatives – and localism