- REUTERS/Hannah McKay
- Counts are coming in at 150 councils across England.
- Labour failed to take control of Wandsworth, one of the flagship Tory councils in London they targeted.
- The Tories performed well in Brexit-voting areas. They claimed the first council change of the night, taking Leave-voting Nuneaton from Labour.
- Liberal Democrats claimed a huge scalp in Remain-voting Richmond, London.
- Labour gains saw the Conservatives lose control of Trafford, their only council in Great Manchester, after 14 years.
- Results will come in throughout the night and into Friday morning.
LONDON – Local election results are rolling in from across the country.
The polls closed at 22:00 in 150 councils nationwide. Declarations will continue until Friday morning. A total of 4,500 seats are up for grabs nationwide.
Prime Minister Theresa May has come into these elections after a difficult six months, losing four members of her Cabinet and suffering a growing number of parliamentary defeats. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also been under pressure, with his party trailing the Tories in the polls and engulfed in an anti-Semitism scandal.
It’s been a tough night for Labour, who failed to gain some flagship Tory seats in London like Wandsworth and Westminster. Outside London, the Conservative have made some important gains in Leave-voting areas.
Scroll down to see the latest developments.
4:40: TORIES HOLD WANDSWORTH
Labour threw the kitchen sink at Wandsworth, but it wasn’t enough to steal a symbolic victory in a council which has been under Conservative control since 1978.
Here’s the breakdown (they needed 31 for a majority):
4:21: LABOUR HOLD HILLINGDON
Labour lose four seats in Hillingdon as Tories retain the authority.
4:19: RECOUNT DRAMA IN WANDSWORTH
Two recounts underway in Wandsworth, which is fast turning into the nail-biting result of the night. Stay tuned.
4:04: FULL HOUSE FOR LABOUR IN BARKING & DAGENHAM
Labour have taken 51 from 51 available seats in Barking and Dagenham. It’s looking increasingly shaky for the party in Wandsworth, though.
3:59: ANTI-SEMITISM MADE A DIFFERENCE IN BARNET, SAYS LABOUR COUNCIL LEADER
Labour’s group leader in Barnet, a Labour target, says the party’s recent antisemitism issues has had an impact in the council, where 14.8% of the population is Jewish – the highest percentage in any local government area in the UK.
“Has anti-Semitism made a difference? Yes,” said Labour group leader Barry Rawlings.
“There’s still quite a way for the Labour party to regain the trust of the Jewish community,” he added.
03:57: LIB DEMS TAKE RICHMOND – CONFIRMED
The Liberal Democrats have taken control of Richmond, a huge result for the party, and for party leader Vince Cable, who came into the elections under pressure to perform.
03:56: CURTICE: HAS LABOUR DONE ENOUGH TO WIN WANDSWORTH?
- BBC / YouTube
Pollster Sir John Curtice reckons Labour might not have done well enough to win Wandsworth.
“It looks like there’s a swing towards Labour in Wandsworth – maybe 4% or so – but that just isn’t quite enough for Labour to pick up the council,” he told the BBC.
He said Labour might still claim Barnet as a consolation prize in London, though. Failure to do that would be bad news for Labour, because it would mean they had failed to make a single headline council gain in the capital. The Lib Dems would claim the headlines.
The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg is hearing similar whispers from Tories, too.
Tory whispers increasingly confident that they have held Wandsworth – not confirmed yet
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) May 4, 2018
03:51: AS IT STANDS
Labour: 902 seats (+18)
Conservative: 519 seats (+22)
Lib Dem: 229 seats (+26)
Green: 17 seats (+5)
UKIP: 2 seats (-80)
Independents: 50 seats (+11)
03:45: FIRST RESULTS COMING IN FROM BARNET
The first results are coming in from Barnet, one of Labour’s big three target councils in London.
Labour have taken all 3 available seats in Underhill, with more votes than they received in 2014. That’s a good sign, but it’s too early to tell what it means.
— Barnet Council (@BarnetCouncil) May 4, 2018
03:41: LABOUR EYEING A BIG PRIZE IN WANDSWORTH
It’s looking very interesting in Wandsworth, where Labour have gained 5 seats so far. This could be very, very tight.
Remember Wandsworth is one of Labour’s big target seats in London, and a Tory stronghold. A victory there would be hugely symbolic.
London mayor Sadiq Khan, who lives near the counting centre, has gone home.
03:29: LABOUR TAKE PLYMOUTH
Labour have gained Plymouth from the Conservatives with a swing of 4 seats. That’s the first Labour council gain of the entire night. It’s 3.29 a.m.
79 councils are still to declare. Nearly halfway there!
03:12: LOOKING VERY GOOD FOR LIB DEMS IN RICHMOND
Over in Richmond, south-west London, 12 out of 54 seats have been declared. The Lib Dems have claimed 9, the Tories 2, and the Greens 1. Looks very much like the Lib Dems have won it.
03:02: TRAFFORD – SOME RARE GOOD NEWS FOR LABOUR
- Christopher Furlong / Getty
Confirmed: The Tories have lost control of Trafford, their only council in Great Manchester, after 14 years.
We’ve now seen 58 from 150 councils declared, and it’s not looking rosy for Labour, which has gained just 2 seats overall so far.
02:54: DERBY’S LABOUR LEADER LOSES HIS OWN SEAT TO UKIP
Ranjit Banwait, the Labour leader Derby council, has lost his own seat to UKIP. A remarkable result, and the first UKIP gain of the night so far. BBC News reports that Corbyn visited Derby twice.
02:52: AS IT STANDS
Here’s where things stand at the moment:
Labour: 654 (no change)
Conservative: 400 (+50)
Lib Dems: 164 (+18)
Greens: 14 (+3)
UKIP 2 (-77)
Independents: 48 (+8)
What does it mean? In short: Labour hasn’t made gains it hoped for. The Tories, on the other hand are are in a slightly better position than they might have expected to be – in no small part because they’re making gains from UKIP, who’ve pretty much disappeared from the electoral map.
02:47: LAST LABOUR HOPES FADE IN WESTMINSTER
Labour sources tell Sky News they’re increasingly sure they won’t gain Westminster.
02:39: LIB DEM FIGHTBACK!
The Lib Dems are increasingly confident they’ve taken control of Remain-voting Richmond in London from the Conservatives. That’s a massive result. They’ve got 3 out of the available 6 seats so far.
02:23: LABOUR MAKE MORE GAINS IN TRAFFORD
Labour has won a fourth seat in Trafford. It’s currently Conservative-controlled and has long been a major Tory bastion in north England, but looks like the party is heading
02:17: LOOKING GOOD FOR THE TORIES IN WESTMINSTER
Early reports from Westminster – which Labour had hoped to win – look good for the Tories, where three sitting Conservative councillors in Abbey Road ward have been re-elected with an increased majority.
Less positive news in Remain-voting Wokingham, where the Tories lost four seats: two to the Lib Dems, one to Labour, and one to an independent.
Thomas Colson (@tpgcolson) has taken over from Adam Payne on the liveblog. Stay tuned as we wait on crucial results in Wandsworth, Westminster, and Barnet.
And what a start: UKIP have actually held onto a seat, this one in Derby. They have lost more than 70, though.
01:53: CONSERVATIVES PERFORMING WELL IN PRO-BREXIT AREAS
Theresa May is making inroads into the old Labour vote. News has just reached us that the Tories have taken full control of Dudley and wiped out the local UKIP vote in the process. This was a Labour target seat. It’s a tale of two Englands at the moment. Labour looks set to increase its vote share in the metropolitan cities but just isn’t penetrating in the post-industrial, pro-Brexit regions.
Former advisor to Ed Miliband, Ayesha Hazarika, tells Sky that Labour staff “are probably on conference calls now and not punching the air”… she’s not wrong.
01:44: A VERY DECENT NIGHT FOR THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS SO FAR
It’s still early days, but the Liberal Democrats are having a really good night so far. They have taken seats off Labour in places like Liverpool, Bolton and Sunderland and are confident of winning in Kingston, Sutton and Richmond.
“They could win more councils in London than Labour,” a source tells me. Don’t tell Jeremy Corbyn…
- REUTERS/Neil Hall
01:37: LABOUR CONCEDES IN KENSINGTON & CHELSEA
No huge surprise here. Labour has conceded defeat in its unlikely mission of claiming Kensington & Chelsea from the Conservatives, The Guardian’s Jim Waterson reports. There were some suggestions that local outrage over the Conservative government’s handling of the Grenfell Tower fire could give Labour enough votes for a historic victory, but this has not happened. A Labour source told me that Advance – the party set up in response to the tragedy which killed 71 people – has won votes which otherwise would have gone to Corbyn’s party.
Labour concedes in K&C. “We have piled up votes in Labour-held wards,” group leader Robert Atkinson tells my colleague @jimwaterson. He adds his party’s gains would be limited because the Tories have managed to “frighten out” their vote across the borough.
— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) May 4, 2018
01:33: TRAFFORD HEADING FOR NO OVERALL CONTROL
Labour sources I’ve spoken to say Trafford in Greater Manchester is heading for no overall country – meaning no party has enough seats to claim ownership of it. It is currently Conservative-controlled and has long been a major Tory outpost in the north of England.
01:29: TURNOUT UP IN WANDSWORTH
We are expecting a result from Wandsworth at around 02:00. Turnout could be up as much as 10% there, Sky’s Faisal Islam reports. Keep your eye on this one. A Labour victory in Margaret Thatcher’s favourite borough would be a big symbolic body blow to the Conservatives.
- REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
01:25: BRITAIN HAS A NEW YOUNGEST-EVER COUNCILLOR
One for the record books tonight: Britain has a new youngest-ever councillor.
Laura Edwards, aged 19, has been elected as a Labour councillor for Walkden South, Manchester Evening News’ Neal Keeling reports.
Here’s Edwards finding out the good news:
The moment Laura Edwards wonin Walkden South pic.twitter.com/ESV8bqSTbQ
— Mari Eccles (@MariEccles) May 4, 2018
00:59: HERE ARE THE TOP-LINE RESULTS SO FAR
It’s closing in one 1 a.m., and results are trickling in. So far, in the 25 councils that have declared, Labour has 198 councillors (down 15 from 2014 results), the Conservatives have 125 (up 33), the Lib Dems have 27 (up 8 ), and UKIP has 0 (down 36). But don’t go drawing any conclusions just yet – it’s far too early in the night to be able to ascertain major trends, and the key battlegrounds (London, Plymouth, and so on) have yet to declare.
00:55 SADIQ SETTING UP LABOUR FAILURE IN WANDSWORTH?
The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has been chatting about the Labour Party’s chances of taking Wandsworth from the Conservatives. Khan says winning there would be beyond the party’s “wildest expectations” – which, as The Independent’s Ashley Cowburn points out – is a bit different to what he was saying not long ago.
Khan playing down Labour’s chances of victory?
Sadiq Khan, November 2017: “There is now no corner of London where Labour can’t win – and with enough hard work we can challenge the Tories even in their crown jewels of Wandsworth and Barnet."https://t.co/Gfa1ohZlaj
— Ashley Cowburn (@ashcowburn) May 3, 2018
00:45: AN ANTI-BREXIT BACKLASH IN RICHMOND?
Meanwhile, in the borough of Richmond in southwest London, Lib Dem activists are quietly confident of prising the 64-seat council from the Conservatives. This would be an almighty result for Sir Vince Cable’s party when you consider the current composition of the council. The Tories have 39 seats here, compared to the 15 held by Lib Dems. Nearly 70% of voters in Richmond backed Britain to stay in the European Union. This would be a big Remainer uprising.
- (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
00:32: TURNOUT HIGH IN KEY BATTLEGROUNDS
Turnout may not seem like a hugely important statistic – but it really is. Labour knows it will probably need relatively high turnouts in their target boroughs (turnout at local elections is usually around 30%) in order to optimise their chances of winning.
With that in mind, numbers coming out of Trafford – its primary target borough outside of London – are encouraging. The turnout is 43% in the Mancunian borough, according to people at the count. It looks like it’s going to be a close-fought contest between the Conservatives and Labour up there. Read more about why Trafford is such an intriguing battleground.
Meanwhile, in the London borough of Kensington & Chelsea – which was always an unlikely gain for Labour – some of the turnouts being reported from wards include 39% and 45%.
- REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
00:20: UKIP SET TO “PLUMMET”
Political scientist, Michael Thrasher, is talking to the BBC about UKIP.
He predicts the struggling party’s vote will “plummet” and says what matters is “where that vote will go” – the Conservatives, Labour or the Lib Dems.
One must not forget that in the 2014 local elections, UKIP under the leadership of Nigel Farage won 17% of the national vote. However, the party has achieved its lifelong ambition of Brexit, and since then has been on a downward spiral. It has had about a million leadership elections, a financial crisis and votes ex-voters ditching it en masse.
To borrow from Oscar Wilde, “there are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”
- Christopher Furlong / Getty
00:10: CONSERVATIVES CLAIM FIRST COUNCIL CHANGE OF THE NIGHT
We’re seeing our first results but at this point in the night, it’s simply far too early to draw any massive conclusions. Here are some standout early declarations:
The Conservatives have just gained the borough of Nuneaton from Labour. Its the first council to change hands tonight. The Tories are showing signs of strong performance in Brexit-voting areas, as many commentators predicted.
Labour lose overall control in Nuneaton & Bedworth. The council has been Labour for all but four of its 45-year existence. pic.twitter.com/qy87LOg7yb
— Tom Boadle (@TomBoadle) May 3, 2018
- Britain Elects
Elsewhere, in Swindon, southwest England, the Conservatives have retained the Lydiard and Freshbrook. This good news for the Tories and a is a poor result for Labour, who had pinpointed this ward as a key target.
Positive early signs for May and less than encouraging signs for Corbyn – but there’s a long way to go.
23:49: LABOUR NOW FOCUSING ON PLYMOUTH
Labour is now so pessimistic about its three big London target boroughs that it regards Plymouth on the southwest coast of England as its best chance of a headline victory. As polling guru Matt Singh has just pointed out to me on Twitter, this wouldn’t exactly be an earth-shattering result for Corbyn and co:
That would be a shocker for Labour. See this re Plymouth: https://t.co/e0AMKJEdBB
— Matt Singh (@MattSingh_) May 3, 2018
The Conservatives currently hold 30 of the 57 seats on this council. Labour has 27.
There’s some talk of Labour holding its post-results speech there tomorrow…
23:32 A SENIOR LABOUR SOURCE JUST TOLD ME…
It could be an underwhelming night for Labour.
I’ve just been told over the phone that Labour currently considers Wandsworth and Westminster to be “out of reach” despite the party’s vote share in the capital set to go up. It’s also – for now at least – given up on Kensington, where they fear the party set up in response the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Advance, will take votes from it.
It’s looking better for Corbyn in Barnet where both Labour and Tory sources regard the contest as on a knife-edge.
The prime minister would be over the moon if the Conservatives hold on to all three London boroughs.
- Steve Cadman/Wikipedia
23:15: LIZ TRUSS: “IT’S GOING TO BE A TOUGH NIGHT FOR CONSERVATIVES”
Conservative minister Liz Truss tells Sky it’s going to be a “tough night” for her party but says Labour won’t perform as well as a party in opposition should.
“It’s going to a tough night for Conservatives,” she said. “We’ve been in power for 8 years. If Labour doesn’t create a significant difference between themselves and the Conservatives, they won’t have done very well.”
- Sky News
23:08: “LATE SURGE” OF VOTERS HAS TORIES WORRIED
Sky’s Faisal Islam reports there were was a late surge of voters in the key battleground of Wandsworth, south London. This is a big worry for Conservatives there, who fear Labour could take control of the borough which has been Tory-controlled since 1974. Here’s a bit more info on why Wandsworth is such a big deal.
- REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
22:48: “AWFUL NIGHT FOR THE GREENS”
Early whispers suggest it could be a really tough night for Greens. The party will be the first to admit it has suffered since Corbyn took Labour further to the left of the political spectrum, with hoards of Green voters jumping ship to back the socialist Labour leader. My sources tell me it’s going to be another tough night.
“We’d be pleased with any net gains – but where we’re fighting it’s excruciatingly close,” a senior Green source has just told me. The party is currently bracing itself for losses in the London boroughs of Camden, Islington and Lewisham, plus in Oxford and Norwich. “We’re looking at a fairly tough night overall,” they added.
22:26: WHAT ABOUT THE LIB DEMS?
With all the May vs Corbyn talk it’s easy to forget that other parties are involved. Sir Vince Cable’s Liberal Democrats will be hoping an increase in support from disgruntled Remainers will help them make some gains in areas outer London and the southeast of England.
A quietly-confident Lib Dem source tells me: “Sutton looks good. Oxford is alright too.”
What does this mean? Well, the Lib Dems currently dominate Sutton council, holding 43 seats of the 54 on offer. Our source tells us they are confident of retaining their strong position. It currently has just 8 of the 48 seats in Oxford. However, our source believes it could be about to add to that total.
- Matt Cardy / Stringer
22:31: THERE IS NO EXIT POLL
Sadly, there is no exit poll tonight, meaning we won’t be getting moments like this from last year’s general election:
22:27: FIRST THINGS FIRST: WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD NIGHT FOR MAY AND CORBYN?
Local elections are unlike general elections in the sense that it’s not as simple as one party won and the others lost. What us political nerds look for is based on things like trends, geography and net gains/losses. Here’s a useful explainer from polling guru, Matt Singh, whose blog you can find here.
“Watch the gap between the two main parties. On these measures, a good night for the Conservatives and bad night for Labour would be the Tories winning the national vote. Every governing party to have won *any* round of midterm local elections has remained in office at the next general election. Oppositions usually win local elections. “Note that’s been the case even after general election landslides, and last year’s result was a Tory lead of 2.5 percentage points. So Labour scraping home with a tie or a narrow victory (under 5 points) on national vote share would be an “OK” night for both main parties. “And Labour winning it comfortably would be a good night for them and a bad night for the Tories.”
22:13 – FURY AS VOTERS TURNED AWAY FOR NOT HAVING ID
It seems a British election doesn’t go by without some polling station drama.
Across the country, people have been denied the right to vote in local elections for the first time due to a controversial new pilot of checks that force voters to prove their identities before casting their ballot.
A 76-year-old man who has lived in Bromley for 40 years told The Independent he was “shocked” to be turned away because he did not have a bank card or passport. “This is a nonsense scheme,” Peter White added.
I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this.
22:05 – IT LOOKS CLOSE IN BARNET
We have received these messages from a Labour councillor in Barnet. Looks like the north London borough – currently controlled by the Conservatives – is on a knife-edge. The Conservatives currently hold 31 of the 63 seats on offer here. Labour controls 30.
- Business Insider UK
22:00 – ARE LABOUR SET FOR DISAPPOINTMENT IN LONDON?
A fantastic night for Labour would be taking Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster from the Conservatives. A very good night would be taking Barnet and Wandsworth. An okay night would be taking Barnet. However, despite early predictions suggesting Barnet is an all but certain gain for Labour, whispers suggest it could be very, very close.
A senior Labour source told BI: “Lots of people out campaigning but no indication we’re on course to win those councils. Not been seeing the kind of swings wins there would require.”
On Barnet specifically: “A fighting chance.”
A number of Labour sources have also expressed concern about lower-than-expected turnout.
Of course, this should be taken with a pinch salt. The night is young, not a single ballot box has been opened and this could just be a classic case of calculated expectation management. But it’s interesting nonetheless.
Here is when we are expecting to get results from these 3 key boroughs:
Westminster – 02:30
Wandsworth – 03:00
Barnet – 04:00
- REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
22:00 – GOOD EVENING!
… and welcome to Business Insider’s UK local elections live blog. Adam Payne here (@adampayne26). I’ll be manning the blog before handing over to my esteemed colleagues, Adam Bienkov and Thomas Colson.
What are the key things to look out for? Labour is expected to record its highest vote share in London for many years. It has its eyes on the Conservative-controlled boroughs of Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster. However, Jeremy Corbyn could have a less successful night elsewhere in the country, with Leave-voting areas in the north in particular set to shift in favour of Theresa May’s Tories. Read more about what regions to keep an eye on:
- 5 key battlegrounds that could decide Theresa May’s fate »
- Britain’s leading pollster, Sir John Curtice, tells BI that Brexit voters could save May in the local elections »
- BBC / YouTube
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