Labour Win High Vote Share In London - But Miss Target Councils
Local elections are rarely exciting, but the result last night seems to be a confirmation of 2017 trends. Labour won their biggest vote share in London since 1971, and came close to winning Wandsworth, Margaret Thatcher’s favourite council, but fell short by just a couple of hundred votes.
In Westminster and Swindon, Labour’s share of the vote soared, but their seat share was disappointing. In the former, they are now level pegging with the tories in votes but far behind in seats, gaining just 3. In Swindon they actually came ahead but yet again Labour’s vote was concentrated within a few key wards and they failed to take the council.
The broader pattern is that Labour are doing well in the cities and with Remain voters, and the Tories are doing well in the towns and with Leave voters. As of 13:30, Labour were up 48 councillors overall, with the Tories up 13. Labour gained Plymouth, Kirklees, and removed the Tories from power in their flagship Northern council of Trafford, but lost Nuneaton and Derby to no overall control.
The collapse of UKIP has been to the benefit of the other parties, particular the Tories in the North and the Midlands. Their general secretary rather bemusingly described his party as the ‘black plague’ on Radio 4 this morning, a description that we at the Robin heartily agree with.
This set of results confirms the national picture of two parties level pegging with highly polarised support. It will no doubt re-ignite debates in Labour about whether to pursue their Remain base more aggressively or attempt to win over key leave voting areas. In other words very little has changed. The projected parliamentary seat share from these results would see the Tories losing seats and being no longer able to govern.