LABOUR failed to take targeted councils from the Tories in Thursday’s elections, including Wandsworth, Kensington & Chelsea, Swindon and Westminster. However it won back Plymouth and became the largest party in Trafford. UKIP were wiped out losing almost all of the seats they were defending and the Tories held onto their seats and gained four.
By yesterday afternoon, the number of Labour councillors was up 50 after 121 councils out of 150 declared results. They are now in control of 59 councils, one less than before the election.
The number of Tory councillors went up by 9 and they now control 39 councils, the same number as before the election. The Tories won Barnet and gained from a collapse in UKIP’s vote, celebrating wins in Basildon and Peterborough. The Lib Dems have taken Richmond-upon-Thames from the Conservatives and gained more than 40 councillors across England.
Turnout for the election varied, but generally it was between 29-38%. Cambridge had a 37.8% turnout, while Harlow had 29.2%. Celebrating Labour’s Plymouth victory, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited the industrial town to meet with Labour supporters and councillors.
He said his party’s win in Plymouth was a ‘fantastic result’ and ‘a sign that Labour is back in this part of Britain’. Of the party’s performance more widely, he said: ‘Obviously I’m disappointed at any places where we lost a bit of ground … but if you look at the overall picture, Labour gained a lot of seats across the whole country; we gained a lot of votes in places we’d never had those votes before.’
In a statement, he described it as a ‘solid set of results’ which left the party ‘well placed to fight and win the next general election’. ‘We have consolidated and built on the advances we made at last year’s general election, when we won the largest increase in Labour’s share of the vote since 1945.’ His shadow chancellor John McDonnell criticised ‘some of the hype’ during the campaign about Labour’s chances in London.
The UKIP vote haemorrhaged, losing nearly all of the council seats it won in 2014. It lost 111 seats and won two. Its general secretary, Paul Oakley, compared UKIP to the Black Death and said the party was ‘not all over at all’. ‘Think of the Black Death in the Middle Ages. It comes along and it causes disruption and then it goes dormant, and that’s exactly what we are going to do. Our time isn’t finished because Brexit is being betrayed.’