Tory Brexiters believe local election results are vindication

Sunday, 06 May, 2018

Labour fell victim to raised expectations ahead of the contests, failing to capture a string of target councils from the Tories in London, including Barnet, Wandsworth, Westminster and Hillingdon, although it reinforced its position as the capital's dominant political force. Barnet, a borough in North London with a large Jewish population, moved under Conservative control as Labour activists claimed their vote suffered on account of the controversy about anti-Semitism in the party.

Guardian columnist Owen Jones, who helped organise numerous events, noted that while Labour did not gain overall control of the councils they campaigned for, many saw an increase in the number of councillors elected.

So overall a pretty mixed bag.

Labour achieved a solid set of results in the local elections.We have consolidated and built on the advances we made...

Mr Corbyn sought to put a fearless face on overnight results which saw Labour pick up more than 50 seats but gain control of only one council, in Plymouth in the south-west.

"If we can not beat this shambles of a Tory party, we don't deserve to be in the game", he told the centre-left pressure group Progress. At these local elections, the Conservatives benefitted from this restructuring of UKIP supporters, gaining Basildon, bringing Dudley to an even split with Labour and nearly decimating Labour's leads in North-East Lincolnshire and Nuneaton and Bedworth - all of which were heavily Leave-voting areas.

"Obviously, I am 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 never had those votes before". The parties hold 2,308 and 1,230 seats respectively.

But it failed to gain any London boroughs from the Tories despite a concerted campaign in the capital.

The Conservatives appeared to have benefited from the collapse of UKIP, which was instrumental in the Brexit vote but has since lost its way.

He added that "huge swathes of the country" can not accept "this Labour party" in power. They also won Basildon and Peterborough, which had both also been under no overall control.

Labour did perform better in areas which voted in favour of remaining in the European Union, as did the Liberal Democrats.

The results now mean the Conservatives have 28 seats, Labour have five, the Liberal Democrats two, UKIP one and one Independent.

Theresa May's government has been buffeted by Brexit, with the cabinet and Conservative Party in Parliament bitterly divided over policy on crucial matters such as future trade with the EU. "That means local government must be properly funded by central government" - Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He said: "They basically think "if only everyone would just shut up, get behind Jeremy and say that he's marvellous, then Labour's going to waltz into power".

Two results for Labour stood out: Labour lawmaker Dan Jarvis won a mayoral election in Sheffield in northern England, while the party retained control of Birmingham council in Britain's second-biggest conurbation.