THERE WERE big gains for Labour in Thursday’s English and Welsh local elections.
Neither incumbent Boris Johnson nor Labour’s Ken Livingtone achieved 50 per cent of the vote in the London mayoral election, leading to a complicated second preference count.
Labour candidate Joe Anderson became Liverpool’s first elected mayor.
But voters in Manchester, Nottingham, Bradford and Coventry rejected the mayoral system, with other cities tipped to follow.
After 136 of 181 councils declared, Labour had taken control of 65 councils, with 1,425 councillors, an increase of 614.
The Tories held 35 councils, losing control of 12 with 751 councillors, a loss of 350.
The Liberal Democrats were in control of just five councils, losing one, and had a total of 298 councillors, a loss of 193.
The estimated turnout was 32 per cent, the lowest since 2000.
Labour leader Ed Miliband welcomed the results saying the party is ‘regaining ground’.
He was lifted by results in the south-east of England and the Midlands, where Labour took control of a series of key councils, including Southampton, Birmingham, Plymouth, Reading, Norwich, Thurrock and Harlow.
Miliband said he was determined to show that his party could ‘deliver Britain the change it needs’ claiming: ‘We are a party winning back people’s trust, regaining ground, but there is more work to do.’
He added that it was a ‘wake-up call’ to the government to change course, but Cameron, after apologising to Tory councillors, said: ‘These are difficult times and there aren’t easy answers.
‘What we have to do is take the difficult decisions to deal with the debt, deficit and broken economy that we’ve inherited and we will go on making those decisions.’