Published:

6.00pm

  • The Lib Dems have gained Gosport. They also held Kingston-upon-Thames, Winchester and St Albans. Some further examples have a good set of elections.
  • Labour has held Wakefield – picking up an extra seat. This is of added interest given the forthcoming by-election.
  • No surprise that Labour has held St Helens. Though they lost seven seats – four to independents and three to the Lib Dems. Also it is no great shock that they held Rochdale. But again they lost seats – five to independents and one to the Conservatives.
  • The Conservatives have won in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The BBC describe it as a hold but it looks like a gain to me. At any rate, the Conservatives gained seven seats – Labour are down one, the Lib Dems down three and the independents down three.
  • 5.30pm
  • Labour has held Birmingham. The Conservatives lost three seats, Labour lost two. The Lib Dems and Green Party made gains.
  • The Lib Dems have held Sutton, which is a disappointing result. But the Conservatives did gain two seats there.
  • Perhaps the worst news so far is that Lutfur Rahman, who had been disqualified from holding electoral office for five years having been found guilty of electoral fraud, has won 47 per cent of the vote in first preferences for Mayor of Tower Hamlets.
  • Conservative net losses of council seats have crept up to 290. Labour net gains have reached a still unimpressive 47. The Lib Dems are the clear winners with 166 more councillors than they started with. The Green Party are up by 56.

5.00pm

  • It’s now confirmed that the Conservatives have gained Harrow. They have a majority of seven. Some may be rather surprised. But I did tell you a month ago that they had a “decent chance”.
  • I noted earlier some undramatic but important results – such as Swindon and Walsall – where Labour has made no progress or gone backwards. But they have quietly strengthened their hold in Reading – gaining three seats. The Conservatives lost six.
  • The Conservatives have held Cherwell. But with a loss of six seats.

4.30pm

  • The Conservatives have won the new North Yorkshire Council. But it’s a bit close for comfort. 47 Conservatives, 14 independents, 12 Labour, 12 Lib Dems and five Green Party councillors.
  • Shadow Ministers touring the broadcasting studios hoping to talk up their electoral progress have instead had to cope with questions about whether or not Sir Keir Starmer should resign if Durham Police issue him with a fine. We have Alex Norris, the Shadow Levelling Up Minister speaking to LBC. Emily Thornberry, Shadow Attorney General, assured Sky News: “We’re completely confident that no rules have been broken”. A familiar refrain…
  • 4.00pm  
  • Labour has gained Kirklees from no overall control – gaining a seat from the Conservatives and another one from an independent.
  • Writing for the New Statesman, Andrew Marr declares that the local elections “did not suffer the kind of catastrophic meltdown that would have finished off the Prime Minister and shifted the national story.”
  • The word on the street is that the Conservatives are doing well in Harrow…Who knows. But encouraging that we Londoners are not just automata fitting in to some desiccated calculating machine of voting trends.
  • 3.30pm

 

Harry Phibbs writes:

  • Not a surprise that the Lib Dems have won Somerset, given the earlier briefings. But this is a significant result for them – especially given the clear majority of 60 seats to 33 for the Conservatives. After beating Labour in Hull it will fit a narrative of them winning in different parts of the country, from Labour and the Conservatives, etc.
  • Labour has lost control of Hastings. They have lost three seats to the Green Party. Labour also lost a couple of seats to the Green Party in Islington.
  • Earlier  reflected on Conservatives abstaining was less alarming than having switch to other parties. Not just for the obvious mathematical point but also because those who “usually vote Conservative” but are annoyed about somethng and abstain still probably think of themselves as Conservatives and so are easier to win back. In a similar way, Conservative MPs who find  they have assorted independents/residents association councillors will often not be too worried. As William noted while I was having my lunch Castle Point has seen the Conservatives lose control purely due to the loss of six seats to independents, Huntingdonshire has seen the Conservatives lose control partly due to four losses to independents. I mentioned the similar trend in Havering earlier.   In Tunbridge Wells, the independents have gained four seats. Often there is a Nimby factor in all this. Sitting Conservative MPs will find it a bit awkward diplomatically. They will want to be loyal to their Party colleagues. But also schmooze and “work with” some of these independents who voters they need to maintain at General Elections. Far more discouraging though to Labour (for example in Trafford) or the Lib Dems (for example in Mole Valley) to be gaining ground.

3:00 PM

 

  • Labour has taken control of Worthing – its second gain in West Sussex. The council was previously under no overall control, and three seats on the Council have gone from the Conservatives to Labour, at the time of writing. Tunbridge Wells remains with no overall control but the Conservatives have lost 10 councillors. They now have just 13, their lowest amount ever after the control of the council was lost last year. The Liberal Democrats are now the biggest party after they took four, while independents took another four and Labour two.
  • Not all doom and gloom for the Conservatives though. Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, has suggested Sir Kier Starmer’s facing of a police probe over ‘Beergate’ ‘gives a taste’ of what the Tories have been experiencing over the last few years.

 

2:30 PM

  • We now have a projected national share of the vote, courtesy of Professor Sir John Curtice at the BBC. With more than 700 of Auntie’s ‘key wards’ now declared, the outcome across the UK would have seen the Conservatives get 30 percent of the vote, Labour 35 percent, Liberal Democrat 19 percent, and ‘Others’ 16 percent. At 35 percent, Labour’s estimate matches that of the party in 2018 – Corbyn’s local election highpoint. It is a six-point improvement on their performance last year, and their five-point lead over the Tories is their largest since 2012. The Conservatives are down five points on 2018 and six points on last year. The Liberal Democrats are matching their performance from 2019, which was their best since they entered the Coalition.
  • Labour have also gained Crawley from no overall control – a key battleground.

 

 

2:00 PM

  • We have had a flurry of results in over the last half an hour or so. The Conservatives have lost control of Castle Point, Wokingham, and Huntingdonshire. Independents gained 6 wards from the Conservatives in Castle Point, whereas the Liberal Democrats gained 5 from the Tories in Wokingham. Sir Ed Davey’s yellow peril also managed to take 3 councillors from the Conservatives in Huntingdonshire, with 4 more going to Independents and 1 going Green. Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer has claimed his party has ‘wind in [its] sails’ after winning in Cumberland. They’re not just for metropolitan liberal types, honest guv.
  • Meanwhile, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Lillian Barker has been elected in the Crackley and Red Street ward after she received the same number of votes as her Labour opponent. The Returning Officer drew lots between the tied candidates.
  • Better news for the Conservatives in Hyndburn though, where Labour have lost overall control of the council as the Conservatives have gained two seats.

 

1:30 PM

  • Afternoon all! William Atkinson here. I’ll be taking over from Harry for the next couple of hours. Whilst my eyes have been largely turned to Ben Stokes making a 64-ball century at Worcestershire, local election results and ensuing commentary have continued to trickle in from across the country. Sadiq Khan has claimed that Labour’s London success (taking Wandsworth, Barnet, and Westminster) was down to the Prime Minister’s ‘lying’ and ‘arrogance’, that Labour’s route to power is ‘through London’, and that Sir Keir Starmer is the first credible leader his party has had in a while. Then again, this comes as Durham Police look set to investigate the Labour leader over ‘Beergate’. But, with Stokes hitting five sixes and a four in a single over, Starmer’s travails are still the second most interesting thing currently coming out of Durham.
  • The Conservatives have not had the best night. Southampton, West Oxfordshire and Worcester have joined Westminster, Wandsworth and Barnet in being lost. Overall, a net 158 seats have currently been lost by the party, with Labour gaining 38 and the Liberal Democrats doing very well to put on 74. So far, the Conservatives have done best in Enfield, where they have gained 8 councillors.
  • One notable development has been the loss of the Hayward Burt’s ward down in Somerset. Burt is the head of CCHQ’s so-called ‘Lib Dem Unit’ – and he has lost his ward to, erm, the Liberal Democrats.  Safe to say this will not be what the party was hoping for ahead of the upcoming by-election in Tiverton and Honiton.

12.45pm

  • The Conservatives have held Walsall, notching up an extra seat there. As it is a “hold” it won’t get much attention. But this is another town that Labour would be winning in – if they were winning a General Election.
  • If Labour had gone backwards nationally from 2018 then Sir Keir Starmer would be in some trouble. “You have done worse than Jeremy Corbyn,” would be the challenge in interviews. It looks clear that will not be the case – though there could be some tricky results still to come for Labour. So he should be safe as Labour leader – except there is news from the Daily Telegraph that Durham police WILL investigate him over beergate. What if they decide to fine him after all? Surely he would have to go. Some defeated Conservative councillors wil be wishing the timing had been a bit different.

12.30pm

  • The Conservatives have lost control of Maidstone. They lost two seats – one to Labour and one to the Green Party. The Conservatives are still the largest party on the Council with 27. councillors followed by the Lib Dems with 12 and ten independents.
  • Labour have gained Rossendale from no overall control, taking  a couple of seats from the Conservatives. Labour was already the largest party.
  • What of the curious incident of the Ministerial resignation? Or the curious incident of the tweet showing no confidence letter being sent in to Sir Graham Brady? The dogs haven’t barked, at least yet. There has been plenty of speculation that really bad results would be a catalyst to bring down Boris Johnson. The results don’t appear to be bad enough, in the mind of Tory MPs, to have provoked such a response.

12.00pm

  • Some early efforts are being made to extrapolate projected national vote share on the basis of the results so far. When these seats were last contested in 2018 the Conservatives were a point ahead on that estimate. The above graph would suggest that this time Labour might end up two or three points ahead – so a bit behind their opinion poll ratings.
  • John Rentoul argues in the Independent that these vote shares in a General Election would mean Sir Keir Starmer becoming Prime Minister. The basis of that is that in a hung Parliament Labour would be much better placed to form a coalition.
  • The Conservatives have held Welwyn Hatfield – losing a seat to the Lib Dems so far.
  • Havering is still under no overall control. But the Residents Association has overtaken the Conservatives as the main party.
  • 11.30am
  • We have a result from Swindon. The Conservatives held the Council and gained a seat. There are now 34 Conservative councillors to 17 for Labour. So not very exciting. But in a General Election, these are the sort of constituencies that Labour needs to gain. Before 2010 they held Swindon North and Swindon South.
  • Apart from the dramatic losses of Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster the Conservatives generally had smaller setbacks elsewhere in London.  They lost seats in Camden, Richmond, Redbridge, Ealing, Hillingdon and Waltham Forest. But gained seats in Brent – as well as Enfield noted below.
  • Oliver Dowden, the Conservative Party Chairman, has told BBC Breakfast voting had taken place against a “difficult backdrop” for the government, adding: “We’ve had some difficult results and we can see that in London.” But the outcome so far did not “demonstrate that Labour has the momentum to form the next government”, he said.
  • 11.00am
  • Not many results yet from today’s counts. But some indications starting to emerge. Sir Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, believes his party will win in Somerset. This would be a significant recovery for them in an area where they have been strong in the past.
  • Turnout is generally reported been lower than usual even for council elections. Many Conservatives have abstained rather than switch to another party. This give the Conservatives some hope for the next General Election. In areas where it is a Conservative/Labour fight the mathematical impact of a million Conservatives abstaining is the same as half a million Conservative voters switching to Labour. But it is probably easier to persuade those million abstainers to vote Conservative again then it would be to win back half a million of them from Labour.
  • Patrick O’Flynn tweets that he is “starting to pick up chatter that Labour is being run very close in the huge Middleton Park ward in central Leeds by the SDP.”

9.30am

Good morning.

  • There have been lots of results but there are lots more counting today. The Press Association has produced a schedule of the time results are expected here. This will be based on what the returning officers have told them. Usually these timings are a bit optimistic. They reflect ambitions of returning officers of what will happen if all goes smoothly. But in practice there is the odd hitch along the way. A general rule is to expect the result aboutan hour later than the time claimed. A bit like having builders in and the work on your house takes a week longer than it is suppoed to. Paul has already covered the results from overnight.
  • Just as Eric Morecambe reflected on “playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order” for elections it is not just about how many votes but gettng them in thr right places. So far in terms of vote share and the number of councillors the Conservative losses have been more modest than some predictions (down 122 overall in the number of councillors according to the latest tally.) Labour’s net gain in councillors have been very modest at 34. But they have come in the right places. Barnet, Southampton, Wandsworth and Westminster are high profile Labour gains. They lost a seat in Sunderland but still hold the Council – so what would have been a shock loss was averted. They lost eight seats to the Conservatives in Enfield – but not the control of the Council. Losing Hull to the Lib Dems is a significant setback for them though. Will Labour’s luck hold today? In Croydon? In Harrow?
  • Labour won the new council of Cumberland – with a large majority. Mark Wallace notes all three of the MPs for this area are Conservatives. So that is significant – although it has not gained much attention in the media as it doesn’t constitute a “gain”.
  • Professor Sir John Curtice says that outside of the capital Labour’s vote share is actually down compared to 2018 on the results so far. If the results from last night were reflected in a General Election he doubts that Labour would even emerge as the largest party – let alone with an overall majority. He concludes that Labour are “probably somewhat disappointed” by this performance at this stage in the Parliament.
  • I suggested we look out for Green Party progress – given their opinion poll ratings are not far behind the Lib Dems.  They have 23 more councillors on the latest tally. So progress – but not a breakthrough.