Local elections: Labor won big symbolic victories but questions remain for Keir Starmer | Political news


It is not an easy election to analyze: the picture is mixed and messy. As dawn breaks on Friday, no one – perhaps except the Lib Dems – should be too pleased with the results.

conservatives suffered losses – maybe not as much as they could. Two losing council leaders, one in the North West and one in London, put some of the blame on Boris Johnson.

Work continues to improve in London, taking Wandsworth, Barnett and likely to take westminster. There were bright spots for Labor at both ends of the country – the new cumberland unitary council – a token win back of the ‘man from Workington’, which covers seats held by the Tories, and the Labour-Tory Baron of Southampton.

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These are optically significant results, especially Wandsworth, which has been blue since 1978 and touted as a low-tax flagship administration.

But elsewhere, when it comes to seats won and lost, the picture is remarkably static – including in the high-profile places Labor needs to push forward.

places like Hartlepool, Peterborough, Redditch and Ipswich did not see a dramatic change in terms of seats – many of these areas were held in the New Labor era and would need to be taken back for Labor to have a chance of a minority government.

The picture may look rosier for Labor when we know how the vote share has changed: currently it looks like the Tories are down 10 percentage points from the 2019 general election, but it will be some time before that we can properly analyze these figures.

Labor claim they would have won 16 general election seats with ‘Leave’ vote based on total vote share: Carlisle, Copeland, Great Grimsby, Hartlepool, Ipswich, Leigh, Lincoln, Peterborough, Stevenage, Thurrock, West Bromwich East, West Bromwich West, North East Wolverhampton, South West Wolverhampton, Worcester and Workington. It will take some time to verify.

What is already clear is that Labor has lost voting shares from 2018 in the North and Midlands, and has remained flat in terms of support in the South and made gains in the East from England.

Tory support has fallen markedly in the south, but less than Labor in the north, suggesting headwinds remain for Keir Starmer’s party in areas they need to recover.

Liberal Democrats have reason to rejoice. They have increased their support in all four regions of England, according to analysis of nearly 500 council wards for Sky News. Winner shell Labor, securing gains from the Conservatives in merton and rob the Tories of a majority in David Cameron’s backyard West Oxfordshire.

But apart from a clear shift from the Tories in London, the picture is a messy one: symbolic victories for Labor, but many areas where they still face questions. None of the main parties is indisputably the winner of the first tranche of results in the first hours of this local election.

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