In England, while the Tories got a bloody nose, Labour didn’t benefit very much. The Tories lost a net 338 councillors, but Labour gained just 22, with the Lib Dems gaining 192, the Greens 63 and the far-left Aspire 23, all in Tower Hamlets. Labour gained control of a net four councils, with the Tories down ten and Lib Dems up three.
The last time these seats were up was in 2018, when Labour had a decent year. This year the BBC’s Projected National Share (PNS), that calculates as if the whole country held council elections, gave Labour a 35-30 lead over the Tories with 19% Lib Dems. In 2018, Labour and the Tories were tied at 35% each, while at the 2021 council elections the Tories led Labour by 36-29.
In Scotland and Wales, the last council elections were in 2017, which was an utter disaster for Labour in which they lost the PNS by 38-27. Yet five weeks later, the Tories lost their majority at the 2017 general election. So Labour made many gains at the Tories’ expense in both Scotland and Wales.
Labour’s five-point win is roughly what the current UK national polls are saying. In my opinion, cost of living and inflation explain the poor result for the Tories better than Partygate.
The Northern Ireland election was historic with the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein becoming the first nationalist party to win a plurality of both votes and seats since NI assembly elections started being held in 1998. But the unaligned Alliance was easily the biggest winner, gaining nine seats.
10:35am Monday Labour lost control of Croydon council, the last to declare, but the Tories didn’t gain it owing to gains for the Greens and Lib Dems. There will be a directly elected Tory mayor. That reduces Labour’s English councillor gains to just 22, while the Tories are down 338, the Lib Dems up 192 and Greens up 63.
10:33am With all 90 Northern Ireland seats declared, results are 27 Sinn Fein (steady since 2017), 25 DUP (down three), 17 Alliance (up nine), nine UUP (down one), eight SDLP (down four) and four Others (steady). An Irish party is the largest for the first time in NI assembly elections.
7:21am In England, the far-left Aspire has GAINED Tower Hamlets from Labour by a 24-19 majority, with Labour losing 23 seats. Aspire won the mayor by 55-45 over Labour. Still no council results from Croydon, where the Tories narrowly gained the mayor from Labour.
7:14am Sunday With 88 of 90 seats from Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein has 27 (steady since 2017), the DUP 24 (down three), Alliance 17 (up nine), the UUP nine (down one), the SDLP seven (down four), independents two (steady), the TUV one (steady), People before Profit one (steady) and the Greens zero (down two). So the 5.1% increase in the TUV vote to 7.6% hasn’t resulted in an increase in seats.
9:48pm Painfully slow in NI. Logging off now, and will see what happens tomorrow morning!
8:17pm With 50 of 90 seats declared in Northern Ireland, Alliance has made three gains, one from UUP and one from SDLP. Still no losses recorded for the DUP yet.
5:53pm I’m expecting more results tonight from Northern Ireland, where so far only 47 of the 90 seats have been declared. I’m also expecting the final two councils – Croydon and Tower Hamlets, both in London. The Tories GAINED the Croydon mayor from Labour, and Labour lost the Tower Hamlets mayor to a far-left party, so these are likely to reduce Labour’s England gains from the current 52.
7:53am The large losses for the Tories are explained by Labour winning the PNS by 35-30. That’s the biggest winning margin for Labour since 2012.
7:50am After 144 of 146 English councils, Labour has 2,212 councillors (up 52 since 2018), the Tories 1,041 (down 341), the Lib Dems 711 (up 191) and the Greens 113 (up 60). Labour has control of 65 councils (up five), the Tories 35 (down ten), the Lib Dems 16 (up three) and no overall control 28 (up two).
7:37am After 21 of 22 councils in Wales, Labour has 522 councillors (up 65 since 2017), Plaid Cymru 199 (down nine), the Tories 110 (down 82) and Lib Dems 69 (up 11). Labour controls eight councils (up one), Plaid four (up three), the Tories zero (down one) and no overall control nine (down one).
7:28am With all councils declared in Scotland, the SNP won 453 councillors (up 22 since 2017), Labour 282 (up 20), the Tories 214 (down 63), the Lib Dems 87 (up 20) and the Greens 35 (up 16).
7:22am Of the 34 of 90 seats so far declared, none have changed hands, but Sinn Fein should win a plurality of seats from a 7.7% point lead over the DUP.
7:18am Saturday Sinn Fein has topped the Northern Ireland first preference vote with 29.0% (up 1.1% since 2017), followed by the DUP on 21.3% (down 6.7%), the Alliance on 13.5% (up 4.5%), the Ulster Unionists (UUP) on 11.2% (down 1.7%), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) on 9.1% (down 2.9%) and the Traditional Unionists (TUV) on 7.6% (up 5.1%). The UUP is more moderate than the DUP while the TUV is more pro-union. Alliance is unaligned, while SDLP is Irish.
11:30pm The BBC’s Projected National Share (PNS) is out. Labour won by 35-30 over the Tories with 19% Lib Dems. That five-point lead roughly matches current national polls. In 2018, the last time these English seats were contested, PNS was tied at 35-35 each. In 2021, the Tories won by a 36-29 margin.
11:20pm Some very bad political news for Labour and Keir Starmer. Durham police will reinvestigate an incident involving Starmer called “Beergate”. They originally decided not to fine him, but if he does get fined it will completely undermine Labour’s attacks on Boris Johnson over Partygate.
10:15pm After 92 of 146 English councils, it’s 1,316 Labour (up 39), 627 Tory (down 154), 310 Lib Dem (up 70) and 51 Greens (up 26). Labour has control of 42 councils (up four), the Tories 24 (down ten), the Lib Dems four (up one) and no overall control 22 (up five).
10:11pm No Northern Ireland or Wales results yet. In Scotland, it’s so far 124 SNP (up three), 77 Labour (up nine), 58 Tory (down 18), 20 Lib Dems (up seven) and 10 Greens (up six). Remember that whereas England is measured against 2018, when Labour had a decent year, Scotland is against a woeful Labour performance in 2017.
4:57pm Outside of London, it’s not looking so rosy for Labour. But all London boroughs are up for election this year, so London makes up a large proportion of total councillors up.
4:46pm Labour’s gain of Westminster could portend similar things at our federal election in wealthy inner city electorates. If you’ve played Monopoly, the most prized estates are Park Lane and Mayfair, and both are in Westminster!
4:05pm It’s been confirmed that Labour has GAINED both Westminster and Barnet from the Tories. It’s that first time the Tories have not won Westminster since its creation in 1964.
2:05pm After 61 of 146 English councils, Labour has 867 councillors (up 19), the Tories 409 (down 87), the Lib Dems 159 (up 41) and the Greens 30 (up 20). Labour has control of 27 councils (up one), the Tories 17 (down four), the Lib Dems two (up one) and no overall control 15 (up two).
1:55pm Labour GAINS Wandsworth from the Tories, who are also expected to lose control of Barnet and Westminster, all these are in London. If my recent article about how Australia’s big cities could help Labor at our federal election is correct, it would explain the Tories’ London losses. Labour is also expected to gain Southampton from the Tories.
12:25pm The Lib Dems have GAINED Kingston-upon-Hull from Labour, the first council to change parties.
11:53am When Scotland and Wales come in, Labour should make many gains as these were last contested in 2017, a horrible year for Labour. Yet five weeks after those dismal council results for Labour, the Tories lost their majority at the 2017 general election.
11:44am With 38 of 146 English councils declared, Labour has 351 councillors (down five), the Tories 199 (down 37), the Lib Dems 89 (up 22) and the Greens 17 (up 13). Still no changes in control.
11:39am We’ll only get English council results this morning and early afternoon. Scottish and Welsh councils and the Northern Ireland assembly count will start tonight AEST.
11:35am Polling expert John Curtice says that in key wards counted so far, Labour is down one from 2018, the last time these seats were contested, the Tories down three and the Lib Dems down four. Compared with 2021, Labour is up four, the Tories down six and the Lib Dems up three.
11:17am Friday Sorry about the late start; I go to gym on Friday morning. Anyway the BBC’s council scorecard has Labour on 244 councillors (down nine), the Tories on 160 (down 21), the Lib Dems 63 (up 14) and the Greens 16 (up 12). That’s with 27 of 146 councils declared. No changes in council control so far, with the Tories controlling 12, Labour 8 and 7 with no overall control.
Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.
Polls for today’s UK local and Northern Ireland assembly elections close at 7am Friday AEST. I previewed these elections here. UK national polls currently have Labour leading the Conservatives by about six points.
In Northern Ireland the Irish nationalist Sinn Féin leads with about 26%, followed by the Democratic Unionists on 19%, the unaligned Alliance on 16% and the Ulster Unionists on 13%. NI has 18 five-member electorates for a total 90 seats elected by the Hare-Clark system.
The Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton resigned last week after being caught watching porn in parliament, so by-elections will be needed in T&H and Wakefield, where the Conservative MP resigned after being convicted of child sexual assault. While Wakefield was Labour-held from 1932 to 2019, T&H has been Conservative since its creation in 1997. The Conservatives won it in 2019 by 60.2-19.5 over Labour with 14.8% Liberal Democrats.
US: New York state courts reject Democratic gerrymander
In New York Democrats control the governor and legislature. They had gerrymandered NY’s 26 Congressional Districts in an attempt to obtain a 22-4 Democratic split. But NY’s highest court rejected this gerrymander, even though all judges were appointed by Democratic governors. A remedial map must be drawn by May 20 with the assistance of a neutral expert. Democrats will lose seats from their gerrymander.
With a Republican gerrymander approved in Florida (subject to court challenges), and the NY Democratic gerrymander rejected, Democrats are down to a net seven-seat gain on the FiveThirtyEight tracker, with Republicans up one and competitive down seven.
On Monday, Politico revealed a draft majority decision of the US Supreme Court to strike down federal abortion rights, so that each state would set their own abortion rules. This shows the importance of Donald Trump choosing three Supreme Court judges to make the Court 6-3 right, including the right-wing replacement for left-wing icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg after Ginsburg’s death shortly before the 2020 election.
Joe Biden’s ratings in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate are currently 52.5% disapprove, 42.3% approve (net -10.2). The US economy surprisingly contracted 1.4% in the March quarter annualised (0.35% in Australia’s quarter on quarter terms).
Left wins in Slovenia
At the April 24 Slovenian election, a newly formed green party won 41 of the 90 seats, defeating a right-wing populist government. The Greens can reach the 46 required for a majority with one of two other left-wing parties. Several parties’ vote shares were below the 4% threshold needed to win seats.