Michael Simmons

The 2022 local election results in five charts

The 2022 local election results in five charts
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Local elections results are still coming in but one thing is already clear: it’s been a bad night for the Tories. The Conservatives have lost 184 seats and ten councils, not as bad as the 800 councillors they had been forecast to lose. But still hardly a result for Boris Johnson to celebrate.

Labour haven’t quite lived up to their highest hopes either. Just over two thirds of councils have declared and Labour have gained 48 councillors and five councils so far. But despite these gains, their vote share appears to be up by around only one per cent on 2018, when these seats were last contested. The biggest gains were made by the Liberal Democrats who have 84 new councillors so far and taken control of Hull from Labour.

How are things shaping up around the country? This map shows that while much of London has fallen to Labour, outside the capital it's a much more mixed picture. 

It’s early days and we haven’t had a huge number of results from outside the capital yet but so far a striking difference is emerging. Whilst the Conservatives have lost seats everywhere, Labour doesn’t appear to be making gains outside the M25. Some 50 councils are still to declare in England but if this trend bears out it could be the story of this election. 

But if Starmer's expectations haven't been met, he is still doing his best to talk up his party's success. The Labour leader has already been spotted in Barnet celebrating his party's win there. And taking control of Westminster council for the first time is a symbolic victory for Labour. Wandsworth and Barnet – seen as flagship Tory councils where policies such as right to buy were pioneered – have also changed hands to Labour. Even Wandsworth's pledge to cut council tax – the only council in London to do so – wasn't enough to stave off defeat. Labour gained Southampton too. In the ‘Red Wall’ though Labour have failed to make inroads with vote share falling 0.2 percentage points in some key seats.

Of course, one thing to remember is that people don’t tend to get fired up for local elections in the way they do for general elections; this year’s elections are no exception. We’re waiting for final figures but turnout looks to be down about a percentage point on 2018 on average and two and a half points on last year. Turnout is usually highest in general elections, followed by devolved elections. In the last five years, local elections had the lowest turnout with just 35 per cent bothering to vote in 2018. This makes it hard to read too much into the national picture from local elections.

North of the border the Tory collapse continues but the story of the day is Labour's revival. Their vote is up and they have taken control of West Dumbartonshire council, an authority that has never had a majority before. Labour sources are feeling confident in Glasgow too.

Written byMichael Simmons

Michael Simmons is a data journalist at The Spectator

Topics in this articlePolitics