How local election night unfolded in key races

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at Wandsworth town hall.

Wandsworth: Labour gains but Tories hang on to crown jewel

A much-touted Labour attempt to wrestle control of Wandsworth – controlled by the Tories since 1978 – was foiled after the Conservatives successfully concentrated resources in key strongholds amid a significantly increased turnout.

However, Labour came close on a night when it gained seven seats on a flagship Tory council that has been known for its low council tax and outsourcing of local services.

The final results left the Tories on 33 seats, Labour on 26 and one held by Malcolm Grimston, a former Conservative-turned-independent who had the largest personal vote of the night (4,002).

Even before the results started to come in, London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, sought to manage expectations when he arrived at the count in south London, where his party had needed to take 12 Tory seats to win outright control.

“Of course we may not win councils but I think winning councillors who are Labour is a fantastic achievement,” he said, when it was put to him by reporters that he and other Labour figures had “talked up” the possibility of winning Wandsworth.

Sadiq Khan hoped Labour’s vote would be higher.
Sadiq Khan hoped Labour’s vote would be higher. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

While Labour did make gains at the expense of the Tories, the latter fended off the challenge by increasing its vote to retain control of all seats in wards such as Fairfield, Thamesfield and Southfields.

Ravi Govindia, the Tory leader of the council, said: “The strategy was to take the message to every household, to every door, to every resident and convince them that this was a council that had not run out of steam.”

Another story of the night was the irrelevance of explicitly anti-Brexit parties, despite 75% support for remain in the area during the 2016 referendum on membership of the EU.

Both the Liberal Democrats and Renew, a new party seeking to carve out ground in the centre, failed to make any inroads in the Toriy or Labour vote in what was entirely a two-horse race. Ben Quinn

Quick guide

Local elections: the night at a glance

Show Hide Status quo prevails on night of no real victors

By early morning Labour had gained seats but failed to make the advances it had hoped for in London. The Conservatives lost seats but were relieved to cling on to key councils. Brandon Lewis, the Conservative party chairman, said his party had a “reasonable night, a good night”. Jeremy Corbyn celebrated seizing Plymouth council and said he was “delighted” by the result. One pollster estimated that a general election matching these results would see Labour with a similar number of seats to the 262 it scored in 2017, while the Tories would lose 12.

Tories lose control of Trafford stronghold

Surprise success for two Green candidates against Conservative incumbents helped Labour become the biggest party in the Manchester council, one of its biggest successes of the night. “I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Andrew Western, the leader of the Labour group on Trafford council. “This is far beyond our expectations.”

Labour’s Barnet defeat blamed on antisemitism row

Hoping for a 1.6% swing and one additional seat to win Barnet from no overall control, Labour instead saw the council move into the Conservative column. Party activists in the area – which has a significant Jewish population – blamed the antisemitism row that has engulfed the capital. Defeated Labour councillor Adam Langleben called for Jeremy Corbyn to apologise to Jewish activists, adding: “We as Jewish Labour activists were told we were endorsing anti-semitism.”

Modest success for Lib Dems in remain areas

The party celebrated as it took control of Richmond by gaining 22 seats and had some other good results. Ed Davey, the party’s home affairs spokesman, said: “It’s building a hugely important platform for future victories.” But elsewhere Vince Cable’s party showed no signs of enjoying the sort of recovery that would see it turn into a strong force at Westminster.

Catastrophic night for ‘Black Death’ Ukip

Ukip’s vote collapsed and by Friday morning it held just two seats, 44 down on four years…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.