11.00 Saturday May 8
Paul Goodman reporting
- The Conservatives have gained Cornwall – one of the Tory targets on Harry Phibbs’ list from Monday.
- Every London Assembly seat so far has been retained by the sitting party: the Conservatives’ Tony Devenish has held West Central, as we reported yesterday; Peter Fortune has won Bexley and Bromley; and Keith Prince is back in Havering and Redbridge. On the Labour side, they have held Ealing and Hillingdon, Brent & Harrow, and Lambeth and Southwark – where the Greens come in second.
- We repeat that although Shaun Bailey is doing better than many expected, and Sadiq Khan is now unlikely to win on the first ballot, we don’t expect the London mayoralty to go blue.
- Labour have lost control of Plymouth to No Overall Control. The Conservatives are up six seats and, at 25, now have one more than Labour. “Stonking results in Plymouth,” tweets Johnny Mercer. “From never having had a Conservative MP in this constituency 5 years ago, to a clean sweep at the local elections today. Amazing. I could not be prouder of a brilliant team.”
- Finally, Jiyun Park didn’t gain Moorside in Bury, but tweets: “I didn’t win the election but personally in my heart think that this was a really great experience and I learnt again what democratic life is and why political freedom is important to us. Life is a journey and the road not always be as smooth. I never give up on my destinations.”
- “Labour has lost touch with ordinary British people. A London-based bourgeoisie, with the support of brigades of woke social media warriors, has effectively captured the party. “They mean well, of course, but their politics – obsessed with identity, division and even tech utopianism – have more in common with those of Californian high society than the kind of people who voted in Hartlepool yesterday.” That’s Khalid Mahmood on today’s results. The Labour Shadow Defence Minister has resigned from the party’s front bench. He says Andy Street will win the West Midlands mayoralty.
- But there is more to his quitting than meets the eye. Mahmood tweets that he left Labour’s front bench on April 13 – because “being the first English Muslim MP in Parliament I want to concentrate on the issues of fighting manipulation of young Muslims by Extremist so called Muslim Organisations”.
- The Birmingham MP has a long record of fighting extremism, authoring several reports for Policy Exchange, who Keir Starmer barred him from working with. Guess where that article denouncing his party’s drift is carried? On the think-tank’s blog. So it’s two fingers from Mahmood to his leader – and we can surely now expect to see him engaged with Policy Exchange’s “Understanding Islam” project.
- Elsewhere, Festus Akinbusoye, a frequent contributor to this site, has won the Bedfordshire Police Commissioner election. We are delighted for him.
- And in London, good news for Bailey generally, and for Tony Devenish in particular, in West London, where the latter has been re-elected to the London Assembly.
- If you’re a left-of-centre voter in London, you might well think Sadiq Khan is going to win, and not vote. Or you might think, as is indeed the case, that he delivers little bar publicity – and that the city is getting less safe. So turnout could conceivably deliver a surprise. But even if Shaun Bailey does much better than expected, as we hope, it’s hard to see Khan not winning off transfers, if not on the first ballot.
- ConHome is told that Conservative gains in Sandwell, where they take nine seats off a formerly all-Labour council, and in Wolverhampton, plus the Dudley win, mean that the West Midlands mayoral result looks good for Andy Street.
- Labour has been holding in some of its biggest urban areas – and has done so in Liverpool, with Joanne Anderson, who replaced Joe Anderson as the party’s mayoral candidate after the latter’s arrest in a corruption probe, being taken to a second ballot by an independent, Stephen Yip.
- Nonetheless, it has lost its majority in Sheffield, where it now has 41 councillors, down eight; the Liberal Democrats have nine, up three; the Greens six, up five…and the Conservatives one, having previously has none at all
- When Ben Houchen won the Teesside mayoralty for the first time in 2017, the BBC correctly described the result as “sensational” – in a then steadfast Labour area, he squeezed in by just over 2000 votes on the final ballot, with 40 per cent of the share in the first round. The turnout was 21 per cent.
- This time round, his majority is a stonking 76,323 – 73 per cent of the vote. And there’s no need for a second ballot this time.
- Look at those figures, for heaven’s sake. Houchen won 17,748 in Middlesbrough to Sue Jeffrey of Labour’s 8141. In Middlesbrough.
- There’s undoubtedly a Brexit effect in the strongly pro-Leave North-East as a whole. But Houchen’s achievement is also the result of hard work, delivering on his manifesto by taking Durham Tees Valley airport into public ownership, getting the South Tees Development Corporation going, and gaining a local freeport. At the heart of his stupendous win is doing what he said he’s do.
- It’s worth noting, however, that although turnout was up, it’s only reached 34 per cent. Nonetheless, enough local voters looked at Houchen last time round, decided to suck it and see – and have decided they like it. The Conservatives now have four of the six Teesside seats, and Labour’s majority in Stockton North is only just over a thousand.
Paul Goodman reporting
- It is still very early days in these elections, but a pattern is emerging.
- The Conservatives have gained Dudley from Harry Phibbs’ target list, and also taken Northumberland, Harlow, Nuneaton & Bedworth – and now Nottinghamshire, as Mark Wallace expected.
- We’re concentrating on councils that change hands in this blog, but what’s happened to those above is happening on a smaller scale elsewhere. Harry Phibbs reported elsewhere about the Conservatives gaining a seat in South Tyneside. The patten is repeating itself elsewhere, with the Party up six seats to a total of 29 in Thurrock; four seats to a total of eight in Oldham: five seats to 15 in Wolverhampton. In Derbyshire, the Conservatives have advanced, winning 45 of the 64 seats, while Labour have retreated, winning only 14.
- There is less good news for the Tories elsewhere. They have failed to capture Colchester from Harry’s list, haven’t won the West Yorkshire mayoralty from it either, and lost South Cambridgeshire to No Overall Control, with the LibDems gaining five seats.
- The thumping Conservative win in the Cleveland Crime Commissioner election suggests that Ben Houchen will be re-elected in Teesside by a landslide; the flavour of the West Midlands results so far means that Andy Street will fare similarly – and that, will the Hartlepool by-election in the bag, Boris Johnson is set to achieve his main electoral aims in England in this poll.
- These are early days for analysis, but Sam Coates of Sky, among others, tweets that the Tories are hoovering up the Brexit Party vote from 2019. Meanwhile, the left-of-centre vote is dividing between three parties – Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens – as the right-of-centre vote unites behind one.
- Diane Abbott, Clive Lewis, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Len McCluskey: all are piling in on Starmer, as Labour, like many other parties of the mainstream left in Europe, drifts.
Boris Johnson arrives in Hartlepool for a victory lap with the party’s newest MP pic.twitter.com/7J1rgpmh9F
— Tony Diver (@Tony_Diver) May 7, 2021
Charlotte Gill reporting
- Dominic Cummings pens a series of tweets about the election result, accusing Starmer of being “a beta-lawyer-gamma-politician” who “obsesses on Media Reality not Actual Reality”. More here.
- “Keir Starmer will have to answer some very tough questions about why we are where we are”, says Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South.
- In Derbyshire Count Council, Edwina Currie loses her bid to rejoin the political world. At Whaley Bridge, Ruth George retains her lead with a 700-vote margin: Currie Jones – CON – 1,878 George – LAB – 2,544 Jones – GRE – 138 Lomax – LD – 340
- British politics used to be about class. It is now about social conservatives versus social liberals. Discuss”, Tweets Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI.
- NursingNotes reports, from a survey of 1,843 healthcare workers, that 42 per cent intended to vote Conservative in yesterday’s local elections.
Please enjoy this incredible election campaign video from Blackburn pic.twitter.com/qoACXnsGcf
— Hannah Al-Othman (@HannahAlOthman) May 5, 2021
- Steve Turner, the Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Cleveland has been elected on the first round. 74,023 votes to Turner, the Labour candidate got 39,467 votes. Last time Labour beat the Conservatives easily – 41,337 to 18,196. I had not included this as a Conservative target. Another astonishing result.
- Len McCluskey, the General Secretary of Unite, says of Sir Starmer: “Keir was elected a year ago and there should be no calls for his resignation, he has to be given time, but he needs to learn lessons”.
- Tiger Patel has gained Audley & Queen’s Park in Blackburn with Darwen from Labour for the Conservatives. You can see his campaign video above.
- Nottinghamshire is a key Labour target among the county council elections. But so far they have lost seats. More results to come.
First result of the day – CONSERVATIVE GAIN (FROM THIRD PLACE) IN CLAY CROSS NORTH. Con: 1,684 Lab: 1,084 LD: 695. Home of the Skinners and the 1972 Rent Rebellion elects its first Conservative Councillor ever! Congratulations Cllr Charlotte Cupit
— Lee Rowley (@Lee4NED) May 7, 2021
- A lull waiting for more results to be counted. But an encouraging tweet for the Party, from Lee Rowley, about North East Derbyshire.
- It’s not all good news. Britain Elects reports the Conservatives have lost a seat in Cornwall to Labour and another in Cambridgeshire to the Lib Dems.
The wards that make up Sunderland Central (currently held by LAB) show the Tories ahead by 7%. Labour won ONE ward of the nine that make up the constituency. pic.twitter.com/FTk1tsIppD
— Tyne and Wear Elects (@TyneWearElects) May 7, 2021
- The above tweet calculates that if the Sunderland Council votes were reflected at a General Election then the Conservatives would gain the Sunderland Central constituency.
- The Conservatives have gained a seat on South Tyneside Council where previously they did not have any councillors at all.
- There is still zero representation in Gateshead and Newcastle. But it is hoped that seats may be gained in other authorities – such as Sandwell – where there have been no Conservative councillors for many years.
- The Conservative gains in Oldham included two wards where in 2016 they received under ten per cent of the vote. Medlock Vale (4.5 per cent in 2016) and St James (7.6 per cent.)
- Though the Conservatives gaining Dudley was an obvious target the extent of the victory was emphatic. Of the seats up for election, the Conservatives won 23, Labour only three. A good sign for Andy Street in the Mayoral election.
Brilliant results overnight from English council elections.
Congratulations to @Conservatives in Nuneaton, Redditch, Sunderland, Thurrock, Dudley, Northumberland, amongst many others.
— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick) May 7, 2021
- One missed Conservative target is Colchester. The Conservatives had no change in their number of councillors – so remain the largest party but the Council is under no overall control.
- In 2016 the result for Mayor of London saw Sadiq Khan defeat Zac Goldsmith by 57 per cent to 43 per cent. The pundits have been expecting a Khan victory by a wider margin this time – as London moves in the opposite direction politically to the rest of the country. If Khan wins by a narrower margin that will give Conservatives some modest comfort.
- No breakthrough for the Green Party yet. But some quiet progress – for instance picking up a seat in Stockport.
- “Crushing defeat for Labour in Hartlepool,” tweets Diane Abbott. “Not possible to blame Jeremy Corbyn for this result. Labour won the seat twice under his leadership. Keir Starmer must think again about his strategy.”
Good to see valueless flag waving and suit wearing working so well… or not?
— Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP (@lloyd_rm) May 6, 2021
Harry Phibbs reporting
- No calls yet from Labour MPs for Sir Keir Starmer to resign. But the above tweet, from Lloyd Russell-Moyle is a reminder that there are Corbynista MPs keen to criticise. By contrast, others – such as Lord Mandelson – have taken to the airwaves demanding a return yo the New Labour approach.
- Ros Jones has been re-elected as Mayor of Doncaster. But she relied on second preferences. In 2017, she won on the first round with 51 per cent. Labour did very badly in the 2017 local elections so any further reverses for then are pretty dire for them. The 2016 local elections were more even – so losses for them in contests that last took place then are less dramatic.
- Already the Conservatives have gained control of councils that I had not included on my list of targets for them since they seemed beyond reach – such as Harlow and Nuneaton & Bedworth. This is especially impressive when only a third of seats are being contested.
- There have been reports of low turnout in London – even with increased postal vote applications. It had been expected that Sadiq Khan would have an increased majority as Mayor of London. But there is now some uncertainty. Andrew Rosindell tweeted that there was a good turnout in Romford.
- Early results do show that Labour remains a powerful municipal force. They have held Newcastle, Gateshead, Rochdale and South Tyneside with big majorities. They also have held on in Sunderland and Oldham – but with significant losses.
Paul Goodman reporting:
- Jill Mortimer [pictured right], the Conservative candidate, won 15,529 votes, and Paul Williams, the Labour one, gained 8,589. That’s 51 per cent of the vote, a majority of almost 7000, and almost twice Labour’s vote – and a swing of 16 per cent. It’s the biggest percentage increase in a governing party’s by-election vote share since the war. The turnout was a very considerable 58 per cent.
- Labour held the seat by a majority of 3,595 over the Tories in 2019, and the party has held the seat since its creation in 1974.
- Elsewhere, the Conservatives won Northumberland from no overall control, have taken full control in Nuneaton & Bedworth and in Dudley (one of the Tory targets listed by Harry Phibbs earlier this week), and gained every seat up in Redditch.
- The party has also taken control of Harlow (which will delight its MP, this site’s columnist Robert Halfon), gained.
- The Tories are up six seats in Sunderland, having eight to Labour’s 15.
- Newcastle-upon-Tyne didn’t have a single Conservative council seat before yesterday, and still doesn’t: Labour maintains a comfortable majority.
- But Labour is preparing itself for an ominously poor set of results in England. A spokesman said: “the message from voters is clear and we have heard it. Labour has not yet changed nearly enough for voters to place their trust in us.
- The Greens seem poised to do well: gaining two seats from Labour on South Tyneside council, one from the Conservatives in Northumberland, and one from the Liberal Democrats in Colchester.
- Snapshot summary: the Brexit and vaccine effects are very live; the Left is dividing between three parties and the Right uniting behind one and Labour, like many left-of-centre parties throughout Europe, has long been losing its grip on the working class; now, this is working its way through the system. No sign yet of any Downing Street wallpaper effect.
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Author: Conservative Home
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