Friday, May 5, 2017

British Election Day

Local and mayoral results: Tories advance amid Labour losses

The Conservatives have made big gains at the expense of Labour and UKIP in local elections across Britain.
The Tories won control of 11 new councils in England and Wales and are making headway in Scotland, where Labour lost control of Glasgow.
UKIP has been virtually wiped out, losing 136 councillors, while the Lib Dems have lost more than 30 seats.
The projected national vote share for the Tories is 38% to Labour's 27%, the Lib Dems' 18% and UKIP's 5%.
The Conservatives scored a victory in Tees Valley, a traditional Labour stronghold, where their candidate Ben Houchen was elected the area's first Metro Mayor. He hailed it as a "political earthquake". 
The party also gained control in Derbyshire, Monmouthshire and Norfolk, while Labour lost control of Glasgow as well as Bridgend and Blaenau Gwent.
Labour's Andy Burnham was elected as Greater Manchester's first Metro Mayor, with 61% of the vote.
Polling expert John Curtice said that if the results in so far were reflected at next month's general election, Theresa May would win a bigger majority - but he questioned whether she would get the landslide she was hoping for.
The 11 point Tory lead over Labour in the projected national share is smaller than their 17% average lead in recent opinion polls, he added.
The projected national share figures are what the share of the vote would be if all parts of Britain had local elections and had voted in the same way as Thursday's English County Council elections.

Map of council control

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Legend for interactive map

What are the notable results?

Among a string of gains in England, the Conservative victory in Derbyshire is perhaps the most notable result so far.
It won 19 seats directly from Labour - which has lost control of the council for the first time while in the party is in opposition at a national level, since the 1970s.
Labour has also ceded control of Glasgow Council, which has been a municipal stronghold for decades, although it is not clear yet whether the SNP will win enough votes to command a majority. 
Meanwhile, the Conservatives have won seats in Glasgow wards such as Shettleston and Paisley, where they have been unrepresented for years. 
This is part of a resurgence in Scotland for the Tories, albeit from a low base. They have picked up eight seats in Aberdeen and have made gains in Edinburgh, Fife and Midlothian. 

A good time for the Conservatives

As well as Derbyshire, the Conservatives have taken charge of Warwickshire, Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, the Isle of Wight, Norfolk and Monmouthshire, all of which were previously under no overall control.
So far, the party has only lost two seats as it also held onto Dorset, Essex and Somerset among others. 
The Conservative candidate for the new Metro Mayor post for the West of England, Tim Bowles, beat Labour's Lesley Mansell by 51.6% to 48.4%. 
John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, said the Conservatives had so far put in their best election performance since at least 2008, with an average swing of seven points from Labour to the Tories since 2013. 
He said the Conservatives appeared to have been the main beneficiaries of a sharp decline in support for UKIP.
Conservative defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the outcome was "very encouraging", but denied the general election was in the bag, saying the results were not an "accurate prediction" of next month's poll.

Disappointment for Labour

Media captionLabour's John McDonnell tells Today media is distorting Jeremy Corbyn's image
Labour lost ground in Lincolnshire, Cumbria and Warwickshire. Phil Johnson, the party's general election candidate in Nuneaton, lost his seat on Warwickshire council to the Conservatives. 
The performance was labelled "pretty disastrous" by ex-MP Stephen Kinnock, who is standing again in Aberavon. 
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said this was not the "wipe-out that many commentators were forecasting" and Labour were building a "solid base" for the general election.
But the BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the opposition should be "gobbling up" seats rather than trying to "put a rosy picture" on holding onto seats in some of their traditional heartlands. 

What's happened in Wales?

Brendan Toomey had been a councillor in Merthyr council since 2004 and leader since 2012
Image captionBrendan Toomey, Labour leader on Merthyr council, was among those to lose his seat
It was a mixed picture for Labour in Wales, where it has been the dominant force in local government for decades. 
It lost control of its heartland seat Blaenau Gwent to independents. 
It also lost Bridgend while the result in Merthyr Tydfil is on a knife-edge as the final three seats will not be declared until 8 June and Labour would have to win them all to retain a majority.
Merthyr Tydfil's Labour leader Brendan Toomey, among those to lose his seat, said the party was "having a very disappointing evening to say the least".
Vaughan Gething, a member of the Labour government in Wales, said there was an "awful lot of work" for the party to do before the general election.
He told Radio 4's Today there had been "mixed messages" on the doorsteps about Jeremy Corbyn but there had also been strong results - with his party "turning back the Tory tide" in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. 

UKIP's 'challenging night'

Media captionUKIP's Peter Reeve maintains on Today his party is still leading the national agenda
It has been a bleak night so far for UKIP, which has lost all of its 64 seats that have been declared. 
In Lincolnshire, where UKIP had 16 councillors elected in 2013 and was the official opposition on the council, the party has lost all of its remaining 13 seats. 
It also lost all its seats in Warwickshire, Hampshire, Essex and the Isle of Wight, which were taken by the Conservatives.
Former UKIP leadership contender Steven Woolfe said the party's influence was "at an end" while its former MP Douglas Carswell said "it was over". 
But party leader Paul Nuttall said UKIP, which did well in 2013 council elections and won 3.8 million votes in the 2015 general election, was a "victim of its own success". 

What about the others?

Lib Dem president Sal Brinton described her party's performance overall as "patchy", while former business secretary Vince Cable said there had been no "spectacular breakthrough". 
The Conservatives saw off the Lib Dems' challenge to hold on to Somerset County Council. The Lib Dems lost six seats although former MP Tessa Munt ousted the Conservative leader John Osman. 
In Cumbria, where party leader Tim Farron is hoping to be re-elected as MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, the party failed to increase its representation.
Ex-MP Stephen Williams only came third in the race to be the new metro mayor for the west of England.
The Green Party have gained six seats in England while Plaid Cymru have added eight in Wales. It has also been a good night for those unaffiliated to any political party, with 28 more independents than before.

Metro mayor results

Andy BurnhamImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionAndy Burnham is the first Manchester Metro mayor
Voters in the West of England, Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City region, the West Midlands, Tees Valley, and Cambridge and Peterborough have all been electing "metro mayors" covering combined local authority areas.
Labour former cabinet minister Andy Burnham has won the mayoral contest in Greater Manchester, with 63% of the vote.
He said it was the start of a "new era" for the the region and an end to "London-centric" politics.
Ben Houchen, who won Tees Valley for the Conservatives, said after defeating Labour's Sue Jeffrey: "We are seeing a massive trend towards the Conservatives. We have started to turn the Tees Valley blue."
In the West Midlands, it is expected to be a close call between Conservative Andy Street, a former John Lewis boss, and former Labour MP Sion Simon.
The mayors will mostly be responsible for economic development, but some will have powers over transport and housing.
In Doncaster and North Tyneside, residents voted for local authority mayors, who are elected leaders of their respective councils. 
Labour's Ros Jones was elected in Doncaster on the first ballot, as was Labour's Norma Readfearn in North Tyneside. 

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