The Spectator

Election results: what you need to know

Election results: what you need to know
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Summary: Sadiq Khan becomes Mayor of London. SNP fail to win a majority. Scottish Tories become second largest party in Scottish parliament; Scottish Labour in meltdown. Little change in England, Ukip gained seven seats in Wales.

Scotland:  SNP fails to win majority; Scottish Labour in meltdown

  • The SNP won 63 of the 129 seats at the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Tories are now the second largest party. They gained 16 MSPs to reach 31 in total. Labour had its worst result since devolution with 24 MSPs, a loss of 13.
  • Scottish Labour is in meltdown. Its new leader, Kezia Dugdale, failed to take Edinburgh East constituency from the SNP - while Ruth Davidson unexpectedly took Edinburgh Central.
  • This is the first year in history that a new Labour leader has failed to increase the number of council seats in their first year.
  • England: Sadiq becomes mayor; Labour find some relief

    • Sadiq Khan has been elected Mayor of London
    • Labour held on in Exeter, Hastings, Norwich, Southampton, but is losing ground on its 2012 performance in English local elections. It has lost Dudley but has retained key councils, including the bellwether council of Crawley, where it increased its majority.
    • Labour retained Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough and Ogmore in two Westminster by-elections.
    • Ukip have taken six seats in Thurrock, where Labour support has crumbled.
    • Labour’s Joe Anderson has been re-elected as mayor of Liverpool.
    • Labour's Paul Dennett has held his position as mayor of Salford.
    • The London mayor announcement is expected later today, with early signs showing Sadiq Khan is on course to win.
    • Wales: Ukip on the up 

      • Ukip gained seven seats in the Welsh assembly. Former Tory MP Mark Reckless now has a seat, as does disgraced former Tory minister Neil Hamilton.
      • Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood pulled off a surprise win in the Rhondda at the expense of Labour's Leighton Andrews. She overturned a majority of almost 7,000.
      • The Tories came third in Wales, one seat behind Plaid Cymru.
      • Kirsty Williams has resigned as leader of the Lib Dems in Wales.

        01.10am  It's official: Sadiq Khan has won. Khan won 44% of first preference votes to Zac Goldsmith's 35%. After second preference were allocated Khan won 57% (with 1.3 million votes) to Zac Goldsmith's 43%.

        6.15pm: Sadiq Khan wins the London mayoral race. It hasn't been officially announced yet, but it is now mathematically impossible for Zac Goldsmith to beat Sadiq Khan. Here's James Forsyth's take:

        James_ForsythSadiq Khan is the new Mayor of London. While the official result hasn't yet been announced, it is now mathematically impossible for Zac Goldsmith to win. Khan has beaten him by a comfortable margin and Labour, after eight years of Tory control, has retaken City Hall. Khan’s result is Labour’s best of this election cycle. He has won a decisive victory in a contest which has seen turn-out go up.

        There’ll be much criticism of Goldsmith’s campaign in the next few days, but it is worth noting just how relentless Khan was. He hit his key messages endlessly, never missing an opportunity to remind voters that he was the son of a bus driver. He also cast himself as the British Muslim who would take on the extremists, which meant that he was well positioned to parry when the Tories raised questions about some of the people that he had shared platforms with in the past.

        At the last election, no MP increased their majority more than Goldsmith. As in 2010, when he won the seat from the Liberal Democrats, Goldsmith had proven himself to be a highly effective constituency campaigner. But his low-key style simply didn’t work city-wide. Goldsmith never looked like he was particularly enjoying being out on the stump and he lacked a simple, memorable defining message.

        Khan now becomes one of the most powerful Labour figures in the country. In this campaign, he has determinedly kept his distance from Jeremy Corbyn—not campaigning with him despite the fact the Labour leader is a London MP. Many Labour moderates hope that Khan will emphasise how different his approach to Corbyn is and how that helped him to win.

        5.50pm: It's starting to look almost certain that Sadiq Khan has it in the bag. It has been suggested that it's now mathematically impossible for him to be beaten by Zac Goldsmith.

        5.20pm: Kirsty Williams has resigned as leader of the Lib Dems in Wales after the party lost four seats in the Welsh Assembly elections.

        5.05pm: George Galloway's campaign to be mayor isn't looking too hot right now; he's currently languishing behind the Women's Equality Party. But Steerpike has some good news:

        With George Galloway predicted to have won roughly one per cent of the vote in the London mayoral election, his dream of becoming Mayor is fading fast. So, barring a drastic recount, the next question to ask is: what will become of his battle bus?

        Barely a day has gone by in the campaign when Galloway has not been spotted in the bright blue bus touring the streets of London. Happily, Steerpike understands that Londoners can expect to see more of the Respect politician and his vehicle.

        Mr S hears that Galloway now owns the bus and plans to paint it as he requires for his various projects. That means Londoners are likely to see a ‘The Killing of Tony Blair’ bus, a Brexit bus and a… Sadiq Khan by-election bus.

        3.45pm: Sadiq Khan's victory in the mayoral election is starting to look more certain. Pollster Peter Kellner has said:

        With almost 80% of first-preference votes counted, Sadiq has won without question. He is well ahead on the first count and that’s not going to change radically.

        2.40pm: Here's Spectator editor Fraser Nelson's verdict on a great day for the Scottish Tories:

        1.23pm: The bookies are now predicting that Sadiq Khan is likely to be elected Mayor:

        1pm: Sadiq Khan's margin in the London Mayoral race is widening. The Labour candidate now has a 45 per cent share of the votes counted so far, compared to Zac Goldsmith's 35 per cent

        12.43pm: A Ukip candidate who blamed litter on eastern European migrants has been elected to the Welsh Assembly.  Steerpike has the details:

        Earlier this year, Ukip candidate Gareth Bennett made the news after he blamed increased litter in Cardiff on East European migrants. He then appeared on Daily Politics where he admitted that he had no evidence to back up the claim: ‘where would I have gleaned the evidence for? Where is this data kept?’.

        While Mr S understands that Ukip’s high command were less than pleased with the interview, Bennett threatened to sue his own party for loss of earnings if they took any steps to deselect him as a result of the row. Happily his comments appear to have caused him little harm. Although Bennett failed in his quest to win the Cardiff West seat — winning just 2,629 votes — he has been voted in — with 23,598 votes — as an Assembly Member for South Wales Central.

        No doubt everyone at Ukip HQ will be ecstatic at the news.

        12.32pm: Ken Livingstone just couldn't resist making an appearance on TV today. He has - again - been talking about the Nazis, and the 'relationship between a small section of the Jewish community and Adolf Hitler.'

        12.31pm: The final results are in for Wales.

        Ukip gained 7 seats, and Plaid Cymru just pipped the Tories to third place with one extra member.

        12.10pm: David Cameron has said the election results show Labour has 'completely lost touch'. Speaking in Peterborough, the PM also praised Ruth Davidson's success north of the border. Here's what he said:

        12.07pm: Diane Abbott has suggested that today's results suggest that Labour are on track to win in 2020.

        11.16am: Jeremy Corbyn has just addressed supporters in Sheffield and given his verdict on the elections. He said that Labour has ‘hung on’ to councils in England; he congratulated Welsh Labour for its ‘excellent results’; and he said that after Kezia Dugdale's drubbing the Labour tradition in Scotland will need to be re-established.

        10.10am: George Osborne has hailed Ruth Davidson's success in Scotland. Here's what the Chancellor had to say:

        Congrats to @Ruth_E_Davidson, @David_Cameron & all party activists on extraordinary result in Scotland. We've deprived @theSNP of a majority

        — George Osborne (@George_Osborne) May 6, 2016

        And Nicholas Soames has also offered his congratulations to Ruth Davidson:

        10.00am: Sadiq Khan has taken an early lead in the race to become the next London Mayor. Only a small number of the first preference votes have been counted but the signs so far look promising for the Labour candidate. Zac Goldsmith is trailing in second whilst George Galloway is languishing behind Ukip and the Women's Equality party.

        9.45am: Steerpike says it might have been a good night for Ukip in Wales but not everyone in the party will be celebrating:

        It's been a good night for Ukip in Wales, but not everyone has managed to achieve their purple dream. Remember Gareth Bennett? The Ukip candidate for Cardiff West made the news after he blamed increased litter in the city on East European migrants. Despite having no evidence - 'where would I have gleaned the evidence for? Where is this data kept?' - he repeated this claim several times much to the dismay of Ukip's high command.

        It appears the comments failed to impress the public too. Bennett has only managed to win 2,629 votes in Cardiff West. Welsh Labour's Mark Drakeford has held the seat with 11,381 votes, with Plaid Cymru's Neil McEvoy just behind on 10,205. However there is still a glimmer of hope for Bennett, he could still be elected on the regional list for South Wales Central.

        9.30am. Guess who's back... former Tory MP Neil Hamilton has just been elected as a Ukip member of the Welsh Assembly. He joins Mark Reckless. The Welsh Assembly is starting to look like a last-chance saloon for former Tory MPs.

        9.06am:  The SNP have failed to secure a majority, by a whisker. They needed 65 seats, and have finished on 63. The Conservatives are now the second largest party in the Scottish Parliament. Labour third.

        8.50am: The Scottish Conservatives are back – while Scottish Labour has imploded. In this Coffee House shots podcast Fraser Nelson is joined by Hamish Macdonell, James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman to discuss the results of yesterday's elections. You can also read Hamish's commentary on the night's results on Coffee House.

        8.05am: Ukip has won its first four seats at the Welsh assembly. Nathan Gill, the party's leader in Wales, has won one of them and former Tory MP Mark Reckless has won another. Nigel Farage has said Ukip has had a 'breakthrough' night in Wales and are 'biting hard into the old Labour vote'. Former Tory minister Neil Hamilton could soon be back in the political sphere again, if he also wins an assembly seat for Ukip. Farage also suggested on Today that Scotland was a hard place for Ukip to gain seats, but that it is now the 'opposition to Labour' in the north of England.

        7.45am: Tom Watson has suggested that it is a 'mixed picture' for Labour. 'We knew this was going to be tough,' he told BBC Breakfast. He also suggested that Labour MPs should respect Corbyn's mandate:

        7.35am: Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, has said that Labour's results so far 'were not good enough' and did not suggest the party would be returning to government. It's not surprising she's a harsh critic of Corbyn; she resigned from her position as a shadow minister when he was elected leader. Speaking to the Today programme, she said:

        'We have made done well in some areas, but l don’t think we should be content with either standing still or going backwards in other areas.

        'Now with the Tories in disarray and six years of Tory government, we should be making significant gains at local elections at this stage in the parliament cycle.

        'Jeremy needs to set out more clearly his vision for the country, but also how he is going to reach out to those voters who we have lost to the Tories and Ukip and SNP. I simply don’t think the results we have seen have been good enough to suggest that we are root to get back into power and get rid of this wretched Tory government.

        'As a party, and him as a leader, we need to make sure that we are not just speaking to the converted, the core Labour vote, but that we are reaching beyond that.

        'Nobody has been speaking of a challenge, we have got a European referendum in less than two months time. We have to focus on the job in hand which is to make sure we stay in the European Union.

        'I respect the fact that he is our leader. But he now has a responsibility to make sure that we just content with keeping our core vote. We really do have a lot of work to do if we want to get back on the route to power.'

        7.28am: Isabel Hardman has reviewed the events so far on Coffee House. Here's a quick summary of her points:


        • Labour is waking up to both disaster and relief. Disaster because the party is falling into third place in the Scottish Parliament – and third to the Conservatives, a party it has long teased for being unpopular and unacceptable north of the border.
        • If today does, as widely expected, finish with a victory for Sadiq Khan in the London mayoral contest, Corbyn can face his critics in his party with a fair amount of confidence.
        • These results may well fit the narrative that Corbyn ended up (rather clumsily) crafting this week that his party wasn’t in the business of losing seats.
        • But the party should be gaining substantial numbers of English council seats if it wants to win a general election in 2020, not just treading water.
        • The full article can be found here.

          7.26am: Nigel Farage has said it has been a night of 'breakthroughs'. His party has made a series of gains: after 79 results out of 124 councils, Ukip has 28 seats so far, a gain of 20.

          7.18am: Labour's Jo Cox has said it has been a 'very weak night' for her party. She also suggested that Jeremy Corbyn doesn't offer the party a path back to power:

          7.00am Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has insisted she isn't going to resign, despite the abysmal results. She told Sky News:

          'I’m 100% committed to continuing as the leader of the Scottish Labour party. I have a mandate to lead the Scottish Labour party. Politics in Scotland has fundamentally changed since the Scottish referendum. The Labour party has to appeal to people who voted both yes and no in that referendum.

          'The reality of the SNP winning tonight and the Tories becoming the official opposition, if that is indeed what happens, is that there is now a majority in Scotland for austerity, and that means £3bn of cuts yet to come in Scotland. I will continue to stand firmly against that.

          'I took over the leadership of the party just after our most devastating general election result going from 41 MPs to just one. I said at that time that the problems of the Scottish Labour Party hadn’t happened overnight, and they wouldn’t be fixed overnight. But I had a plan to renew the fortunes of our party.'

          5.50am: Sky News has broadcast its projection for the results in Scotland. It is expects the SNP to get 69 seats (the same number as they got in 2011), the Conservatives 25 (up 10), Labour 20 (down 17) and the Lib Dems six (up one).

          5.33am:  The BBC have broadcast a prediction of the latest figures for what's happening to the share of the vote in Wales:

          Labour: -8

          Conservatives: -3

          Plaid Cymru: +2

          Ukip: +15

          Lib Dems: -3

          Greens: +2

          5.15am: Labour’s Joe Anderson has been re-elected as mayor of Liverpool.

          2.45am: The first result from Wales is in and it's a Labour hold in Alyn and Deeside. But a 17 per cent rise in the Ukip vote shows that the party is on course for a good night.

          2.40am: The SNP gain seat of Greenock and Inverclyde from Labour and hold Dundee West and Kilmarnock & Irvine Valley.

          2.30am: The Conservatives have gained Eastwood from Labour in the Scottish elections. Here's what Ruth Davidson had to say:

          Tremendous win for @Carlaw4Eastwood - couldn't be more chuffed for him. Fantastic result. #TeamTory

          — Ruth Davidson (@Ruth_E_Davidson) May 6, 2016

          2.25am: Lib Dems hold Shetland 2.15: Ukip have taken second place in the by-election in Sheffield Brightside which was won by Labour's Gill Furniss. 2.10am: The SNP hold onto Hamilton. Here's what Alex Massie has to say about developments north of the border so far:  

          Alex_MassieThe early results in Scotland offer some grounds for thinking that Ruth Davidson's confidence the party might come second are not wholly misplaced. In Hamilton, the Tory vote increased by nine points. The SNP held the seat easily but the rise in the Conservative vote bodes well for the Tories' chances on the all-important list vote. Labour's vote fell by ten points in Hamilton just as it had in Rutherglen, another former Labour stronghold in Greater Glasgow. This suggests Labour's list vote will be heavily squeezed. "Another disaster for Labour" said one former Labour leadership aide. "The Tories are going to come second. Easily." So much, one leading Labour figure commented bitterly, for the theory that Jeremy Corbyn - who said Scotland would be a priority - would help save the erstwhile people's party. A centrist SNP might soon be opposed by a centre-right Tory party. "So just how left-wing is Scotland really?"

          2.05am: The local elections in England have produced few surprises so far in England, where no councils have so far changed hands. 1.50am: Labour has lost a ward in Bury with a high percentage of Jewish residents by a 20 per cent swing - could the party's anti-Semitism row be to blame? 1.45am: David Mundell has been talking up the Conservatives' chances in Scotland. He said: 'I am very confident we can achieve that goal (of being the second biggest party in Scotland)' 1.05am: There's some good news for Labour filtering through in Nuneaton where the party have clung on. But worryingly, there was still a big 11 per cent swing from Labour to the Tories. 1.00am: The SNP have crushed Labour in the second result from north of the border, taking Rutherglen with a huge nine per cent swing. If that shift to the SNP is replicated across Scotland it will spell bad news for Labour indeed. 00.50am: The first result from Scotland is in and the Lib Dems have held Orkney with nearly 70 per cent of the vote, meaning the SNP won't be getting a clean sweep after all. 00.45am: John Mann said Labour's anti-Semitism row hasn't come up whilst he's been out on the doorstep. The Labour MP, who berated Ken Livingstone on TV, said if Labour came third north of the border it would be 'cataclysmic for the morale of the Labour party'. 00.35am: It seems as if one Labour MP has had enough: 

          00.20am: Nigel Farage has been talking up Ukip's likely success - describing tonight as a 'breakthrough'. Farage said 'the big message is Ukip is eating, very hard, into the old Labour vote'.

          00.10am: Results from tonight are thin on the ground so far, but John McDonnell has already described the outcome of today's elections as 'complex'. Here's what he said:

          Midnight: Meanwhile, away from 'Super Thursday', Donald Trump has waded into the EU referendum debate by backing Brexit. Listen to what he had to say here.

          23.45pm: Is there a chance Labour could lose control in Wales? Secretary of state for Wales Alun Cairn has said it will be a 'body blow' for Corbyn if they do:

          'The prospect of Labour losing control in one of their heartlands like Wales would have been laughed at a relatively short number of years ago. That is the prospect tonight. The indications are that Labour could lose control of the Assembly and that would be a body-blow for Jeremy Corbyn.'

          23.15pm: Will it be a miserable night for Labour? Here's what Tom Watson had to say:

          Meanwhile, John McDonnell is doing his best to manage Labour's expectations, saying the main aim is to reduce the 6.3 per cent gap between them and the Tories at the 2015 election. He said:

          'If we can narrow that gap, we will demonstrate steady progress.'

          23.10pm: The first result of the night is in from the local elections in England as Labour holds Sunderland

          23.00pm: Ukip is hoping for a good showing in Wales, and this election day ITV poll may give them cause for optimism:

          Our exclusive exit poll for Welsh Assembly: Labour 27, Plaid 12, Con 11, UKIP 8, Lib Dem 2. Labour unable to govern alone. #Walesdecides

          — Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) May 5, 2016

          22.50pm: Jeremy Corbyn has tried his best to talk up Labour's chances at today's local elections, but it looks as though his party is in for a torrid time. Here he is thanking those who did show their support for his party:

          22.40pm: Will Andy Burnham run in the Manchester mayoral race? Here's James Forsyth's take:

          James_ForsythThe polls have only just closed, but we already have one very interesting development. Andy Burnham, the shadow Home Secretary who came second in the Labour leadership contest, is considering running to be the new metro Mayor of Manchester. His team have confirmed to Sky that he has been approached about running by local Labour figures and he is considering doing so.

          Given that the new Mayor will control a £7 billion plus Budget, larger than that of several government departments, it is understandable that Burnham is interested in the role. But Burnham heading off to do this, would, inevitably, be seen as an indication that he thinks Labour isn’t going to win the next general election. It would also be a boost to George Osborne’s plans to create these new metro mayors.

          If tonight is as grim for Labour as some are predicting it will be, he might not be the only senior figure in the party to decide that there political future is away from Westminster.

          22.25pm: Rumours are circling that Andy Burnham may be considering leaving Parliament to run as a candidate for Manchester mayor. A spokesman for the shadow Home Secretary said:

          Approaches have been made to Andy Burnham to give consideration to this role. It is early days and no decision has been taken.

          Labour's shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has just said this about it:

          22.15pm: The polls have just closed and counting is underway in Scotland, Wales and at polling stations across England. But we'll have to wait until tomorrow morning to hear the results from City Hall, with votes for the London mayor not being counted until 8am. One of the main things to keep an eye on tonight is Labour's performance at the ballot box. Jeremy Corbyn insisted earlier this week that his party would not lose seats, before his comments were clarified by a party spokesman who said Corbyn had meant to say Labour was not 'in the business' of losing seats.

          Despite this attempt to downplay Corbyn's comments, it's clear that a bad night for Labour will heap misery on Corbyn. Crucially, it'll be seen as a test for how well Corbyn's leadership has been received by Labour voters. A miserable showing for the party tonight is unlikely to be fatal for Corbyn, but it'll make it easier for Labour MPs who dislike him to rally against Corbyn.