4.13am Goodnight folks! Sean Fear will present his analysis of the results tomorrow (about lunchtime) and sometime tomorrow I’ll compare the final results to ConservativeHome’s benchmark tests.
- Conservative 40%
- Liberal Democrat 27%
- Labour 26%
Conclusion: A very good share of the vote for the Conservatives. The best since 1992!
3.55am: Sky reporting that Tories may have won Ealing.
3.42am: BBC coverage is quite funny now. Emily Maitlis is now anchoring coverage from a pub but we keep hearing reporters and production staff talking over each other. Tim Donovan has admitted he was wrong to say Tory Enfield might be lost to Labour.
3.41am: Frank Dobson says a reshuffle would be like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. The longer Blair stays in place, he says, the Labour party is getting smaller and smaller.
3.40am: Labour lose Merton to NOC.
3.32am: In a complete surprise Labour lose Lewisham to NOC.
3.28am: Conservatives gain Croydon with likely 12 extra seats and LibDems wiped out (from 2 to 0). Ex-Lab leader of council is blaming last ten days of publicity – new Tory leader of council says Labour’s high council tax at least as much to blame.
3.25am: Oaten effect sees Conservatives gain Winchester from NOC. Poor Mark Oaten.
3.22am: LIGHTS OUT IN WESTMINSTER! From Nick Robinson’s BBC blog: "Was it something I said..? The entire studio has just been plunged into darkness, taking the programme off air. I am dictating this to a kindly colleague because it’s not just the studio that has gone down. It would appear that all power to this building – and a large part of Westminster that we can see out of the windows – has gone. None of us can remember anything quite like it."
3.20am: BNP have won 11 seats in Barking & Dagenham (of the 13 they contested).
3.12am: Conservatives gain Harrow.
3.06am: Conservatives gain Bexley in spectacular fashion – winning 24 more seats, moving up to 54 and Labour lose 23, collapsing to just 9 councillors.
3.03am: I’m now back with Sky after BBC suffered some sort of blackout!
2.46am: Very funny moment on BBC24. Tessa Jowell said Labour had not tried to exploit Olympics for Labour. David Dimbleby points out email from TJ saying that Olympics was victory for Labour government and Mayor and Caroline Spelman reminds viewers that it featured in Labour’s one non-chameleon broadcast.
2.44am: Jeremy Vine reporting that Tories may lose Enfield. That would be very disappointing. Tories look set to gain Hillingdon, however.
2.40am: BNP up to 8 councillors in Barking & Dagenham.
2.35am: Disappointment for Tories as Labour hold Wolverhampton.
2.30am: Sky predicting LibDems may go backwards in Lambeth. It’s looking like a disappointing night for Ming.
2.19am: Alan Duncan on Sky wants to know where Gordon Brown is. Lab lose Plymouth to NOC but hold Sheffield against LibDems.
2.14am: Conservatives gain Mole Valley from NOC.
2.11am: Conservatives have held Solihull against a strong LibDem challenge. The LibDems took the Solihull General Election seat last May. A good result for the Tories according to ConservativeHome’s key benchmark test for tonight. A good result for Caroline Spelman who worked very hard in the borough.
2.04am: Conservatives gain Coventry. Tories gain two seats from Labour in Birmingham.
1.54am: "A council leader who lost his seat in the local elections said today he is to leave the Labour Party because it has become "a Tory party in disguise”. The former leader of Stoke-on-Trent council, Mick Salih, told BBC Radio Stoke that he would not renew his membership of the party. He has been a councillor for 13 years. Labour lost overall control of the council, where it lost two seats and the BNP saw its strength rise from two to five councillors. Mr Salih said he had tried to listen to people and had done his best, but he had had "enough of the Labour Party". "I shall not be renewing my membership and that is a fact. It is not the Labour Party I joined years ago,” he said." (From PA).
1.50am: Tories hold metropolitan boroughs of Trafford and Dudley.
1.48am: Blogger Richard Bailey has taken a seat from the LibDems in Huntingdonshire. He reduced a 450 majority to 90 in 2004 and has just gained a 250 majority tonight.
1.41am: Conservatives gain Hastings. LibDems gain South Lakeland. Tories replace LibDems as second party in Bolton (bad news for Ruth Kelly).
1.35am: More from Iain Dale: "Conservatives take Harefield ward in Hillingdon by a landslide from Labour. I think it has been Labour previously. Result was something like Tory 1200 Lab 300. An indication of things to come, or not?"
1.32am: Chris Huhne on BBC saying that LibDems winning seats against Tories in Richmond and Eastleigh – places where the Tories need to win come the General Election.
1.30am: Conservatives gain Crawley.
1.24am: From Iain Dale: "Antony Little has won Bowthorpe ward in Norwich (candidate in Norwich South at last election). We now have two seats on Norwich City council for first time since 1985. This may seem small but it is a real breakthrough. Bowthorpe is a very Labour area – much council housing. He missed out by 14 votes in 2004. He’s done LibDem pavement politics. The Party must now put some resources into Norwich to support him."
1.00am: ICM survey for BBC says 50% want Blair to go NOW or by end of ’06.
12.59am: Tories fail to gain seat in Manchester where Labour does well against LibDems. Elsewhere in North West, Tories look set to gain Chorley.
12.57am: George Galloway’s Respect set to be biggest party in Tower Hamlets (unconfirmed).
12.50am: BNP gain three seats in Stoke-on-Trent.
12.42am: Alan Duncan on Sky says Margaret Hodge’s "idiotic" intervention on BNP is "in no small part" explanation for the BNP’s success.
12.31am: Francis Maude on BBC says Tories have made "cracking start" under David Cameron but a "long way to go". Tory performance he says is at top end of expectations. He reminds David Dimbleby that not so long ago BBC was predicting Tory losses.
12.26am: Conservatives lose West Lindsey to NOC.
12.24am: Tories win Longbridge ward in Birmingham from Labour. Brilliant news.
12.20am: LibDem-Tory coalition looks likely in Camden. I’m back with Sky News where the coverage is much more dynamic. Less of the silly pub talks that BBC are going in for. Great fun watching Tessa Jowell squirm on Sky. Ms J was responsible for Labour’s London campaign. No positive Olympics effect for her.
12.15am: Conservatives gain Shreswbury & Atcham.
The Editor takes fifteen minute tea break and phone call from IDS as he travels from Sky to BBC studios. IDS has been in H&F this pm and predicts that H&F will become a very dynamic Tory council…
11.55pm: Greg Hands MP predicting Hammersmith & Fulham will be Tory-run after tonight – for first time since 1968.
11.44pm: Labour in Barking & Dagenham suggesting BNP may gain half-a-dozen seats. BNP may also gain in Stoke, Sandwell and Burnley in results to be declared tomorrow, says Thrasher on Sky. Thrasher says he is unsurprised at BNP performance given the 4.9% they won at the last London elections. IDS on Sky says BNP are gaining not just because of immigration but failure of mainstream politics to tackle long-term problems of alienation and poverty.
11.37pm: Newspaper review on Sky – Times is suggesting that Prescott will go on TV tomorrow to take the blame for Labour’s losses. Andrew Pierce predicts that defeated Labour councillors will lead calls for Blair to go tomorrow and the bad local election news won’t be buried by the likely reshuffle.
11.32pm: First result in – Tories hold Tamworth gaining five seats from Labour.
11.28pm: LibDems’ Tim Razzall predicting on Sky that they’ll win Richmond-upon-Thames from Tories but Iain Dale has good news from Tunbridge Wells on the yellow versus blue frontline.
11.10pm: I’ve just taken a call from ToryRadio‘s Jonathan Sheppard. He’s predicting that the Conservatives will take full control of Bassetlaw.
11.05pm: Looks like there’ll be a reshuffle tomorrow as BBC’s Nick Robinson says that ministers have been told to stay in London. The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson told me that this was likely yesterday. Well done Fraser! Earlier today Iain Dale was speculating that Stephen Byers might return. He’s now discussing Gordon Brown moving to the Home Office. I don’t think either will come to pass.
10.55pm: Newsnight predicting that Labour will lose Camden because of local issues.
10.49pm: Hopping over to Newsnight and more Jeremy Vine. They’ve got an ICM poll which puts Brown, Cameron and Campbell at 36%, 30% and 17% for "Who would make the best Prime Minister?" Labour also enjoy a 45% to 39% lead on trusted to run the economy.
10.44pm: Local elections expert Michael Thrasher (on Sky News) predicting turnout of about 33% today. He says 150 losses for Labour would probably be acceptable for Blair but over 250 and the alarm bells will really start ringing. He says both Tories and LibDems should gain about 200 seats each.
10.40pm: Sky News are highlighting the three-way contests in Bolton and Bristol.
10.30pm: Jeremy Vine just presented this graphic on BBC1’s Ten’o’clock news (click the graphic to enlarge). Michael Howard’s Tories did very well in 2004 and Labour performed particularly badly. Will Blair go even lower tonight?