Lib Dems gain as local election voters snub Tories and Labour

3 May 19

Early results from this year’s local elections showed public backlash against Britain’s two main parties with Liberal Democrats making strides.

Both Labour and Conservatives lost seats while senior Lib Dems claimed the party has re-established itself as a key player.  

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable proclaimed that “three party politics is back” after encouraging early results for his party.

Ed Davey, Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson, told BBC news that the centrist party are “back in business” as it makes substantial gains in today’s elections.



The party has gained several councils from the Conservatives such as Bath & North East Somerset, Hinckley and Bosworth, Winchester, Chelmsford, Vale of White Horse and Cotswold. 

The Lib Dems have also picked up councils formerly under no overall control (NOC) such as North Norfolk and North Devon.

Labour has suffered set backs in the North, leave-voting constituencies such as Hartlepool, which was lost to NOC and Bolsover – veteran MP Dennis Skinner’s local council.

Conservatives have taken hits in its shire heartlands in places like St Albans, Welwyn Hatfield and South Oxfordshire – all lost to NOC. Amber Valley in Derbyshire changed hands from Conservative to Labour. The Tories gained Walsall from NOC.

Andrew Gwynne, shadow local government secretary, told BBC news that Labour has struggled to get its message across on doorsteps due to a preoccupation with Brexit.

“In areas where Brexit has dominated on the doorsteps, it has been difficult to get our message through about tackling key issues on how we reinvest in our public services,” he said. 



Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis told the BBC’s Today programme that there is a “very clear message to both parties that we have got to get on with getting Brexit done”.

Elsewhere Green and Independent councillors have made progress. Independents took control of Ashfield, previously NOC, and has grown its number of councillors across the country.

Sian Berry, Green party co-leader, told BBC news: “I can pretty confidently say we’re going to have a record number of Greens on a record number of councils.”

Tony Travers, director of LSE London, said: “It looks as though most of the disenchantment with the political system has fractured between the Lib Dems, Independents, Greens…it’s gone all over the place - but not so much to UKIP.”

Update 12:27pm : Labour loses Burnley and Cannock Chase to NOC and Conservatives lose Herefordshire to NOC
Update 12:50pm : Conservatives lose Craven to NOC
Update 13:00 : North Hertfordshire moves from Conservative to NOC
Update 13:15 : Theresa May says local voters want politicians to “get on and deliver Brexit” 
Update 13:19 : Labour gain Calderdale from NOC
Update 13:24 : Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit, offers his insight on progress so far: 

“These are local elections but no one is talking about local government. There’s already an established narrative surrounding these results that is missing a massive piece of the puzzle by viewing it purely through the lens of Brexit.

Brexit is as much a symptom as a cause. It cannot be separated from the the profound crisis affecting housing, care and local economies. Local government has been bled dry. 

When we talk about Brexit what we don’t talk about is the urgent and essential task of transforming local public services and reinvigorating local democracy and civic life.”

Update 13:33 : Conservatives lose Mid Suffolk to NOC

Update 13:37 : Labour loses Darlington to NOC

Update 13:40 : Conservatives lose Pendle to NOC

Update 14:13 : Conservatives lose both Warwick and Babergh to NOC 

Update 14:17 : Liberal Democrats gain Mole Valley from Conservatives 

Update 14:27 : Conservatives lose Malvern Hills to NOC

Update 14:36 : Conservatives lose Mendip to NOC

Update 14:41 : Labour loses Stockton-on-Tees to NOC

Update 14:45 : Conservatives lose Staffordshire Moorlands to NOC

Update 14:56 : Sir John Curtice, political scientist and professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, told BBC news that Lib Dems have only experienced “partial recovery”: 

“This does look to us like the best Lib Dem local election performance since [the] party went into coalition with the Conservatives in 2010, but it is still well short of the kind of performance that the party routinely registered from the early 1990s to 2010.

“So partial recovery, I am sure they might want to open a bottle of prosecco, but I think the best champagne should remain on ice.”

Update 15:09 : Conservatives lose Wyre Forest to NOC 

Update 15:16 : Conservatives lose Eden to NOC

Update 15:22 : Labour lose Middlesbrough to NOC

Update 15:25 : Lib Dems gain Teignbridge from NOC

Update 15:48 : Conservatives lose North Somerset to NOC

Update 15:53 : Labour gains High Peak from Conservatives

Update 15:54 : Conservatives lose Richmondshire to NOC

Update 16:05 : Conservatives lose Swale to NOC

Update 16:07 : Conservatives gain North East Derbyshire from Labour

Update 16:20 : Residents Association gain Uttlesford from Conservatives

Update 16:29 : Conservatives lose Chichester to NOC

Update 16:47: Labour gain Gravesham from NOC

Update 16:50 : Conservatives lose Mid Devon to NOC

Update 17:00 : Conservatives lose Torridge to NOC

Update 17:09 : Conservatives gain new council East Suffolk

Our coverage of the elections will now end [17:47]. 22 councils are yet to declare.

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