12:12pm After 229 of 230 councils, Labour has 2,674 councillors (up 536), the Tories 2,299 (down 1,061), the Lib Dems 1,626 (up 405) and the Greens 481 (up 241). The final council won’t be completed until Tuesday owing to a recount in one ward. Both late councils went to No Overall Control, no change.
11:58am At the 1996 UK local elections, held a year before Labour last gained power at a UK general election, Labour routed the Tories on the PNS by 43-29 with 26% for the Lib Dems.
10:31am Given that Labour’s performance in the two national vote measures was well below their current national polling lead, I think these elections are a much bigger disappointment for Labour than is currently being portrayed.
10:20am Sky’s National Estimated Vote share is worse for Labour than the BBC, with Labour only seven points ahead of the Tories, 36-29 with 18% for the Lib Dems. If this were the result at a general election, Labour would probably fall short of a majority in the House of Commons.
There are still two councils outstanding. The BBC’s report said Labour is now the largest party in local government, surpassing the Tories for the first time since 2002. The council the Greens won control of is mid Suffolk.
7:34am In my Intro post, I talked about the importance of the BBC’s Projected National Share. The PNS for these council elections was 35% Labour, 26% Tories and 20% Lib Dems. This nine-point Labour lead is the largest since Labour lost national power in 2010, but a big underperformance for them on the current national polls that give Labour about a 17-point lead.
From the last time these council elections were held in 2019, Labour is up seven on PNS, the Tories down two and Lib Dems up one. From the 2022 council elections, Labour is steady, the Tories down four and the Lib Dems up one.
7:19am Saturday After 227 of 230 councils declared, Labour have 2,657 councillors (up 527), the Tories 2,282 (down 1,061), the Lib Dems 1,608 (up 416) and the Greens 478 (up 240). Councils controlled are Labour 71 (up 22), the Tories 33 (down 48), the Lib Dems 29 (up 12), independents two (up one), Residents’ Association two (steady), the Greens one (up one) and no overall control 89 (up 12). I believe this is the first time the Greens have won control of a council.
11:42pm After 101 of 230 councils, Labour has 1,092 councillors (up 208), the Tories 739 (down 338) and the Lib Dems 521 (up 88). Currently Labour is gaining at a 24% rate, the Lib Dems at a 20% rate and the Tories are losing at a 31% rate. Extrapolations give Labour a gain of 501 when everything is counted, the Tories a loss of 1,056 and the Lib Dems a gain of 249. But the Tories’ projected losses are down now on what was earlier projected.
Time for bed now, and I’ll restart this early tomorrow morning AEST.
11:32pm Labour has GAINED Blackpool and the Lib Dems have GAINED Stratford-on-Avon.
10:50pm Labour has GAINED control of Swindon and East Staffordshire councils.
9:36pm In council control, Labour has a majority on 25 councils (up three), the Tories on 13 (down 12), Lib Dems nine (up one), independents two (up one) and no overall control 25 (up seven).
9:32pm After 74 of 230 councils, Labour has 787 councillors (up 148), the Tories 509 (down 262), the Lib Dems 385 (up 65) and the Greens 73 (up 38). The extrapolations have Labour finishing up 494, the Tories down 1,143 and the Lib Dems up 248.
5pm Looks like a lull in the counting until this evening AEST, when the remaining 170 councils start reporting.
4:41pm The Lib Dems have GAINED Windsor and Maidenhead council from the Tories, with a 22 year old Lib Dem ousting the Tory leader in his ward.
4:33pm After 60 of 230 councils, Labour has 633 councillors (up 110), the Tories 419 (down 209), the Lib Dems 308 (up 57) and the Greens 51 (up 29). The extrapolations now suggest a total loss of over 1,100 for the Tories, with Labour up almost 450 and the Lib Dems 278.
3:44pm Labour GAINS Medway council from the Tories, winning 31 of 53 seats declared so far with six still to come. That’s a nine seat gain for Labour at the direct expense of the Tories.
3:21pm After results from 52 of 230 councils, Labour has 564 councillors (up 103), the Tories 388 (down 171) and the Lib Dems 294 (up 49). Current projections are for Labour to end up with 2,607 (up 476), the Tories 2,336 (down 1,029) and the Lib Dems 1,468 (up 245).
2:18pm Putting the latest figures in has the Tories losing 33% of their current seats, and would extrapolate to an overall loss of nearly 1,100 councillors.
1:52pm Labour has GAINED control of Stoke-on-Trent after it was previously hung and the Tories have lost NW Leistershire to no overall control.
1:41pm I’ve done some extrapolations on the current results. Labour has 415 councillors (up 74), the Tories 222 (down 92) and the Lib Dems 160 (up 20). The percentage gains/losses are Labour up 22%, Tories down 29% and Lib Dems up 14%. Projecting these to the seats held before these elections (see the intro post below) gives Labour nearly 2,600 councillors (up 462), the Tories 2,380 (down 986) and the Lib Dems 1,400 (up 175).
12:32pm Labour has gained control of Plymouth council, which was previously hung.
12:22pm Counting has slowed down, and we’ve only got 35 of 230 councils declared so far. Labour has 322 councillors (up 48), the Tories 128 (down 70), the Lib Dems 107 (up 18) and the Greens 18 (up ten).
11:43am With results in from 249 of the 792 key wards that the BBC is using for its Projected National Share (PNS), Labour is up 7.4% on 2019, the Tories down 1.2% and the Lib Dems up 1.1%.
11:11am Labour made gains in seven of the ten Tamworth councillors up for election this year, to reduce the Tories to 14 of the 30 total seats, depriving them of a majority.
11:05am Now 181 Labour councillors (up 29), 71 Tories (down 44), 72 Lib Dems (up 14) and ten Greens (up four). The Tories have lost another council to No Overall Control.
10:47am Labour has 126 councillors (up 13), the Tories 61 (down 26), the Lib Dems 59 (up 13) and the Greens eight (up two). The Tories have lost control of Brentwood council, the first council so far with a change in party control.
9:49am So far the Tories have lost ten councillors, with the Lib Dems up seven, Labour up two and the Greens up one.
8:47am The BBC’s live blog says that only 64 of the 230 councils will be counting overnight (it’s nearly midnight UK time). These councils tend to be where only 1/3 of seats are up for election.
8:32am Friday You can follow the live council scoreboard at the BBC. So far Labour has won three councillors, making two gains, both from UKIP.
Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.
Local government elections will be held in England today, with polls closing at 7am Friday AEST; they will be held in Northern Ireland on May 18. Most of the English seats up were last contested in 2019. The BBC’s Projected National Share (PNS), which converts council elections into national vote shares, showed Labour and the Conservatives tied on 28% each with 19% for the Lib Dems in 2019.
A total of 230 councils in England hold elections today, although in many of them only one-third of seats are up for election, as other seats are elected in alternative council election years. The Conservatives are defending 3,365 councillors, Labour 2,131 and the Liberal Democrats 1,223. Results will come in until at least Saturday AEST.
UK national polling in the last week has shown a small lift for Labour when compared with the previous week’s polls, and they are now about 17 point ahead of the Conservatives
The best statistic for the local elections is not the total councillors or councils won or lost, but the BBC’s PNS. In 2022, Labour won the PNS by 35-30 over the Conservatives after losing by 36-29 in 2021. A huge win for Labour could put Sunak under pressure, but if Labour flops, the pressure would be on their leader Keir Starmer, as he approved the Sunak attack ads. The next UK general election is not due until late 2024.
Turkish elections: May 14
Turkey will hold presidential and parliamentary elections+ on May 14, with a presidential runoff on May 28 if nobody wins a first round majority. In the parliamentary elections, a total of 600 seats are allocated by proportional representation with a 7% threshold. Parties can join alliances and avoid this threshold provided the alliance gets over 7%.
Polling continues to be mixed, with the social democratic Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu leading the right-wing incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for president by 20 points in one poll in the first round, but he trails by nine points in another poll.
Greek election: May 21
All 300 seats will be allocated by proportional representation with a 3% threshold at the May 21 Greek election. In previous elections, there was a large seat bonus for the party that won the most votes, but that was scrapped by the left-wing Syriza government before the 2019 election. Unless electoral law changes are approved by a 2/3 parliamentary majority, they apply not at the next election, but the one following that election.
The conservative New Democrats won the 2019 election with the help of the seat bonus, and are the leading party in the polls with mid-30s support. But left-wing parties (Syriza, the centre-left PASOK, the Communists and the left-wing MeRa25) have more votes combined than the right.
US default possible on June 1: Last week I covered Republicans’ passage of a bill through the House of Representatives that would raise the debt limit but at the cost of spending cuts that Democrats strongly oppose. The US Treasury said on Monday that the US could default on June 1 without congressional action to raise the debt limit, though the actual day of default is probably further away.