England & Wales Democracy, devolution and governance

Local election results rolling in as Barnet promise investigation of voting chaos


Image: LGiU

The MJ’s Dan Peters  joined us last night for our live local election coverage. He gives an early morning take on the state of play (this article first appeared on the MJ website this morning). We will be covering the remaining local election results as they come in on our live blog.

Polling day was marred by events in Barnet which were branded a ‘shambles’ after the council sent out the wrong electoral lists to all 155 of its polling stations.

The error meant that scores of people who did not have their polling card with them were unable to vote.

A statement from Barnet chief executive Andrew Travers, the returning officer, read: ‘Taking part in the democratic process is a fundamental right for our residents and the main focus this morning was to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

‘We will fully investigate the cause of the problems that have arisen.

‘I would like to apologise to everyone who experienced problems with voting in Barnet today.’

Sophie Walker, the Women’s Equality Party mayoral candidate, said: ‘Women first got the vote 100 years ago and there are women today who have been unable to vote.

‘We will be pursuing a complaint.’

At 5am on Friday, Labour were 28 English council seats down, the Conservatives were up six, Lib Dems were up 10, UKIP were up 20 and Greens were down one.

Most councils did not change control, with Labour holding on to key councils and losing fewer seats than some had feared.

Shadow communities secretary Jon Trickett tweeted the ‘key test’ was how Labour’s vote compared to its share last year – not when these seats were last up for grabs in 2012.

He tweeted just before 2am: ‘Early doors but it’s becoming very clear that Labour has made real improvement in vote share [across the country] since 2015.’

Marginal Bury MBC stayed with Labour while Nuneaton and Bedworth BC, where the MP is Conservative local government minister Marcus Jones, was also a Labour hold.

Labour retained Norwich, denting Green Party hopes of going from official opposition to ruling group, as well as keeping control of Reading BC, where a bad night for leader Jeremy Corbyn would have meant a different result.

Newcastle City Council leader Cllr Nick Forbes – the leader of the Local Government Association Labour group – held his Westgate seat by a massive majority as his authority stayed red, extinguishing hopes of a Lib Dem revival.

Although the Lib Dems did manage to hold on to Eastleigh BC, the party’s Sue Derbyshire, leader of Stockport MBC, lost her seat, with Labour becoming the largest party but the council remaining in no overall control.

It is too early to tell how the Conservatives have done, with many key seats yet to decalre.

The Tories lost control of Worcester City Council with the authority falling into no overall control but gained Peterborough Council from it being no overall control.

Rugby BC, which was Conservative-controlled, now has 21 Tories, with the other parties taking the other 21 seats to put the council in no overall control.

However, marginal Swindon Council remained Conservative.

In Liverpool, Joe Anderson was voted in to serve a second term as elected mayor, as expected, with the results for mayors in London, Bristol and Salford yet to be announced.

In non-election but mayor-related news, it has been confirmed that shadow home secretary Andy Burnham is considering standing to be mayor of Greater Manchester next year.

And in more elected mayor news, North Tyneside MBC voted in a referendum to keep the position.