LGiU Statement – State of the Locals at 5am
Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGiU said:
“We’ve only seen a few councils change hands at this stage in the results but at present it looks like a better night for the Conservatives than many would have anticipated, while Labour results have not quite lived up to expectations.
In London, Labour were targeting flagship Conservative councils like Wandsworth and Westminster but have fallen short despite increasing their number of seats.
Labour needed to talk up the possibility of gains to get their vote out, but now risk disappointment even though Wandsworth and Westminster (both Conservative for more than 40 years) were always going to be a long shot.
Outside London the picture is one of Conservative consolidation. In places like Swindon, Nuneaton, Basildon and Southend, Labour need to win if they are to win a general election but the Conservatives are tightening their grip.
Meanwhile, the Lib Dems made big strides in terms of numbers of councillors and swept away the Conservatives in Richmond presumably benefiting from being the only major party opposed to Brexit in the borough that recorded one of the highest remain votes in the country.
Overall though, we seem to be seeing an entrenchment of the status quo; a divided Britain in which big cities vote Labour and everywhere else votes Conservative.
However, we shouldn’t forget that these elections are really about important local choices not just a giant opinion poll. That’s the basis on which candidates were campaigning. How far people vote on local rather than national issues is impossible to tell. But, though it’s an unfashionable truth, most councils around the country do a pretty good job and it may be that in large part we are seeing incumbency rewarded.”