Local elections 2024: Live updates from LGIU

LGIU: Your ultimate guide to the local elections landscape

Last updated: 19:44 Friday 3rd May

Stay tuned with LGIU as we dive into the heart of the 2024 local elections! We’re your go-to source for updates, insightful analysis, and in-depth commentary.

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  • Receive updates throughout the day as the results unfold
  • Explore comprehensive analyses of the outcomes
  • Delve into expert commentary on the implications for local government
  • Visualise the shifting political landscape with detailed maps across the regions

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Check out the current state of play or you can jump to the contests that interest you the most:

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The current state of play

There are always twists and turns with local election results. And this set has been no different. But looking back almost 24 hours since the polls closed – if we can ignore the noise surrounding the more dramatic results – the underlying signal is a steady drumbeat of lost Conservative council seats. Yes, Ben Houchen has held on to Tees Valley, and Labour has lost control of Oldham, but when the dust settles, it is likely that the Conservatives will no longer have half the seats that they were defending.

The regional summaries and maps below take us up to Friday evening. Labour will be pleased to now have control of councils like Hartlepool, Hyndburn, Redditch, Rushmoor, Adur and Thurrock – successes across a variety of regions. The Conservatives will find solace in their defence of Harlow, which had been a key Labour target.

There are still important results to come in, but while many will be straining to read across to a general election, the real outcome of these elections is that increasingly it will be Labour politicians taking the tough decisions in councils over the next four years.

The results so far…

 

How things stand at the end of play Friday


Main points to know:

These elections are happening against the backdrop of a steady Conservative decline over recent years, the results show the trend has continued.

The narrative around the results has shifted. The main story is still one of severe Conservative losses, and this is undoubtedly true across councils, with some exceptions like the key test of Harlow in the East of England. The only major ray of light for Conservatives so far has been the victory of the incumbent mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen. However, the fact of the mayor’s personal support means that this can’t be interpreted as a wholehearted endorsement of the Conservative party in the region. What it does demonstrate is the way in which voters see a clear difference between national parties and local mayors, again emphasising the localness of these local elections.

The Conservative losses do not necessarily translate straightforwardly to any other major party winning their seats, and as always, the local picture is important for understanding any specific result. For an example of this, look no further than Labour’s loss of councillors in Newcastle and South Tyneside or their loss of council control in Oldham. However, it has overall been a successful night for Labour who took early victories in Hartlepool, Rushmoor (where the party has won a majority for the first time ever), Thurrock and Redditch.

As always, the fortunes of the major parties will dominate the headlines, especially in a general election year. But these results can’t be understood when divorced from their local context. National politicians may pretend otherwise, but it is clear that voters see local elections as fundamentally different to national contests.

As this evening draws to a close, we have seen Conservatives lose councils across the country, and Labour pick up many of these councils. In a few areas – notably Oldham and Kirklees – Labour have lost control of their councils as independents have picked up their seats. Still to come over the weekend, we have significant contests in many regions: the Mayor of the West Midlands, interesting contests across Bristol, Dorset, Gloucester, Wokingham, Worcester and many others where control could still change. Many PCC elections will be announced over the weekend, as will the remaining mayoral contests and the London Assembly.

See our Ones to Watch guide 👀 for the full breakdown of our predictions before the election happened.

East Midlands

Where the results stand:

There was only one council up for election in the East Midlands region, the city of Lincoln, which has stayed Labour.

However, that does not mean there is nothing of note happening in the area. We have already seen the PCC result for Lincolnshire, where the Conservatives have held the position, but their vote share has fallen by a significant 23%.

And the Mayor of the East Midlands, a new position set up this year, has been won by Labour. The Conservatives had their sights set on it, which we know because they launched their local election campaign here, but their candidate Ben Bradley was pushed into second place by Labour candidate Claire Ward.

East of England

Where the results stand:

The East of England has many more competitions with twenty different elections and a huge variety of different political contexts across the region.

So far, the biggest result in the region is Labour taking control of Thurrock where no party had held a majority, but the Conservatives had previously been the biggest party. The last few years have been particularly rocky for Thurrock due to commercial investment deals going south and unpaid loans. This victory for Labour gives them control of the council for the first time since 2014.

Nextdoor to Thurrock, in Basildon, the Conservatives have lost control of the council after losing a severe 12 seats to Labour and Independents, which leaves no party with an overall majority.

The biggest defence so far is in Harlow, where the Conservatives have held onto a small majority despite losing five seats. Labour and the Conservatives are now only a single seat apart on the council.

Castle Point is an interesting contest, where the People’s Independent Party have taken majority control. The Conservatives lost all 8 councillors, meaning that every seat on the council is now held by local parties and independents. A key example of where local politics is truly local.

Earlier in the day, we were busy writing about how Labour must be happy to have gained Norwich. It turns out that this was a reporting error and Norwich is still No Overall Control after Labour lost two seats and the Green party picked up two.

The Liberal Democrats have held on to Watford, adding to their defences across the East and South East.

North East

Where the results stand:

Nearly all the results in the North East have been declared, and the only change so far—likely to be the only change at all—is that Labour has won Hartlepool from No Overall Control.

There are a number of strong Labour majorities in places like Sunderland, Newcastle, and Gateshead, although in Newcastle, Labour’s majority has now been reduced to eight. Labour will be glad of these strong majorities, because in some of these areas it is masking serious losses of seats. In South Tyneside they lost ten seats, gained by Independents and the Greens.

North West

Where the results stand:

The most dramatic result in the North West so far is in Oldham, where Labour have lost control of the council. Labour have controlled the council since 2011, and this is yet another example of how national swing can miss many of the important local dimensions to political competitions.

On the other hand, they have won Hyndburn from No Overall Control, one of the key tests for them in the region. They picked up a couple of new seats, while the Conservatives lost 3.

There are lots of results still to come in the North West, and the story so far (apart from a few places) is one of continuity. Stockport, which started the night at No Overall Control, has ended in the same place. The Liberal Democrats are still only a few seats away from a full majority.

In Bolton, both Labour and the Conservatives have lost councillors, meaning that the council stays in No Overall Control where Labour will have been hoping for a majority. Exactly the same is true in Pendle, where independents have picked up 5 seats.

Labour won the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner from the Conservatives at a 22% swing.

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South East

Where the results stand:

The biggest results so far in the South East, without question, are Labour’s victories from the Conservatives. In Rushmoor, where they have never won the council before, and Adur. In both of these they won seats directly from the Conservative. Most recently, they also won Milton Keynes from No Overall Control – where most Labour gains came from the Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats have held onto key councils in Winchester, Woking and Gosport.

The South East has the largest number of elections (28 this year) and there are several that could change hands and tip one way or another. Indeed, many are on a knife edge.

South West

Where the results stand:

No major changes in the South West yet. Exeter, Plymouth and Swindon have all stayed Labour. We will be waiting for results from Dorset and Gloucester to learn more about the region.

West Midlands

Where the results stand:

The main question in the West Midlands was, would the Conservatives be able to hold on to the councils they are defending? Evidently, not in many cases. The first major results in the region came from Redditch and Nuneaton and Bedworth, where Labour won control of the councils from the Conservatives. Nuneaton is a famous general election bellwether. In addition, Labour has gained control of Tamworth by taking 9 seats from the Conservatives – the council was previously in no overall control since the Conservatives lost their majority last year.

However, the biggest result people are waiting for in the region isn’t a council but a mayoral election – to see whether Andy Street will retain the mayoralty for the Conservatives. Those results are due in over the weekend.

Yorkshire and the Humber

Where the results stand:

North East Lincolnshire has moved from the Conservatives to No Overall Control, one of the earliest tests of their strength in the region. The Conservatives lost 8 seats where Labour picked up 6.

In Hull, always an interesting Labour and the Liberal Democrats face off, the Liberal Democrats have held control of the council (that they won in 2022), but have lost a seat, where Labour has won one.

Labour lost control of Kirklees, leaving no party with an overall majority. They had only held control of the council since 2022. Labour and the Conservatives both lost seats there, while the Liberal Democrats, Green and above all independents picked them up.

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Combined Authority elections

Where the results stand

These combined authorities are worth watching during the election. Ben Houchen has successfully defended Tees Valley for the Conservatives. Time will tell if Andy Street will be able to do the same in the West Midlands – the results for the West Midlands are expected on Saturday.

The new North East Combined Authority has been won by Labour after a strong performance by former Mayor of the North of Tyne (at one point Labour, now running as an Independent) Jamie Driscoll. Labour have also won the new Mayor of York and North Yorkshire.

What is a combined authority? 🤔 Here’s the answer

Police and Crime Commissioner elections

Where the results stand

The areas for PCCs are a little different to local authorities. For example, in the southwest, there is a single PCC for Devon and Cornwall, which covers a large number of different district and unitary councils as well as a county council.

Given the nature of these elections, there is a chance that the PCC elections will primarily be viewed as a question of Conservative losses. This is true of all elections this year, but PCCs are a type of elected office where the Conservative party is unusually dominant.

Turnout across PCC elections is often low, even by the standards of local elections, and in places where there are PCC elections and no other elections, turnout is often very low indeed.

So far, results for PCC have come in from Avon and Somerset, Bedfordshire and Cumbria in England where Labour have taken the win from Conservatives. In most other places that have been announced, the seats have not changed.  This does not mean nothing of note has happened, in Lincolnshire, for example, Conservatives have held their position with a significantly reduced majority.

In Wales, Gwent and South Wales have been held by Labour, and Dyfed–Powys has been held by Plaid Cymru. Wales has elected its first women as PCCs in Gwent and South Wales. In the places where turnout has been announced, it has tended to hover around 15-20%.

The party balance before the May 2024 election results

What is a Police and Crime Commissioner? 🤔 We’ve got the answer here

London Assembly

What’s up for grabs?

All 25 London Assembly member seats are up for election.

Map showing London Assembly by political control

What is the London Assembly? 🤔 We’ve got you covered here

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Ones to Watch

Check out our guide to where the action will be happening. Our predictions cover council, combined authority, London assembly and PCC elections and we’ve picked out the key contests where control might be won or lost – the stakes are high!

Read here

Local Elections 101: your questions, answered

We’re here to demystify the mysterious world of local elections. We’ve answered your key questions about how local elections in England work. What does No Overall Control mean? What is a Police and Crime Commissioner? What is the point of local elections? Read all about this and more.

Read here

The State of the Locals 2024

Each year, LGIU commissions Ipsos to carry out polling on UK attitudes to local elections, the work of councillors and the role of local government in England. This is a summary of the main findings from the 2024 survey.

Read here