Labour hangs on to councils as election results come in

6 May 16

Labour has retained control of a host of authorities across England but lost councillors after early counting from local elections across the country, with UKIP making the largest gains in seats.

The results from overnight counting show that Labour controls 58 councils, down one from before the votes after losing Dudley to no overall control. The party retained control of authorities including Bury, Norwich, Reading and Newcastle.

Joe Anderson was also returned as mayor of Liverpool for the party.

However, the latest figures show that Labour has won 1,326 council wards, down 18 after all 124 councils had declared.

The Conservatives have lost 48 council seats according to latest figures to stand at 842, and the party has retained control of 38 councils including Swindon, down one compared to the last time these authorities were contested in 2012.

The Liberal Democrats have won 45 more wards to stand at 378, and have control of four councils, including gaining Watford.

UKIP has won 55 council wards so far, up 25 compared to 2011.

Among the results expected later today are the mayoral elections in London, Bristol and Salford, as well as in police and crime commissioner elections across England.

Responding to the early results, Local Government Information Unit chief executive Jonathan Carr-West said that the main focus so far continues to be the Labour vote and what it tells us about the party’s leadership under Jeremy Corbyn.

“It’s important to remember that local elections are not just, or even primarily, about national politics. Most Labour councils have very different politics from the national leadership. By virtue of their duty to balance the books they are more pragmatic in their approach to austerity and to public service reform.

“As we’ve been hearing from our count correspondents throughout the night, if Labour losses are fewer than many predicted this is in no small part because people are delivering a verdict on Labour councils and not simply the national party. Nonetheless, the losses coming through so far are significant, knowing that the last time these councils were elected Labour gained over 800 seats. Many Labour councils may feel they are now paying the price of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.”

He added that a while a victory by Sadiq Khan in the contest for the London mayoralty would likely be highlighted as the story of the night, the reality is that no opposition has lost councils seats in this way for 30 years.

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