Local elections

Why the Tories won’t let me display a local election poster

Being told by the Tories not to put a local election poster in my window because it will only remind people why they don’t like them has reminded me why I don’t like them. It also put my blood pressure up, according to my newly delivered blood pressure monitor. I strapped the thing to my arm while I was arguing with a Tory councillor about why they wouldn’t give me a Vote Conservative poster: 136/84. Nowhere near as high as it was in the doctor’s surgery, but still… This happens every election. I always offer the local Conservatives the run of my front garden, which borders the village green, and

Local elections postponed until next year

The government has bowed to the inevitable and announced that May’s local and Mayoral elections have been postponed. With the Chief Scientific Advisor saying that the coronavirus peak is 10 to 14 weeks away, it was hard to see how you could have had an election campaign within that period. As I said in the Sun last Saturday, Whitehall has been braced for a delay to these elections for a while now. They will now not take place until 2021, meaning that there’ll be no immediate electoral test for the new Labour leader. These elections won’t be the last event to be postponed. The current thinking among those leading the government’s

No ‘Brexit backlash’, says internal Labour election analysis

After a disappointing local election result for Labour last week, politicians were quick to blame the party’s Brexit ambiguity for the net loss they suffered. Labour councillors in Sunderland and Barnsley said talk of a second referendum had been unhelpful on the doorstep. Meanwhile, MPs including Jess Phillips suggested that a clearer call for a so-called People’s Vote would boost support for the party. Downing Street hoped they could capitalise on the party’s Brexit worries by convincing the Labour frontbench to back some form of Brexit deal in order to bring the matter to a close. However, the view in Labour a week on is rather different. Coffee House has been

The reason for Labour’s dismal local election performance

At the end of today, the Tory party will have had a terrible night – perhaps losing as many as 1,000 councillors in England, compared with a worst-case projection (by Tory peer Rob Hayward) of 800 defeats. But that may not end up being the big news: it is not exactly a revelation that vast numbers of Tory supporters are incandescent that the Prime Minister has failed to deliver Brexit yet. A majority of Tory MPs wanted Theresa May to resign before yesterday’s elections; they still want her out. Nothing has changed, as she would say. Much more significant is that Labour too is losing seats. And even though the

Katy Balls

Corbyn under pressure to change Brexit stance after disappointing Labour result

It’s been a disappointing night for both main parties in the local elections. As predicted, the Conservatives have suffered serious losses and could be on course to lose around 800 council seats by the time all votes have been counted. Perhaps more surprising is Labour’s bad turn. The party has suffered a net loss of seats taking a hit in Leave areas like Sunderland, Ashfield and Bolsover. This is not the performance one would expect from a party on course for a majority in a general election. Labour councillors and politicians have been quick to start the blame game. After Labour lost ten seats in Sunderland, the party’s council leader Graeme

Tom Goodenough

The key battlegrounds to watch in the 2018 local elections

The Tories are in for a torrid time in today’s local elections if the polls are anything to go on. Results are expected to be particularly bad for the party in the capital, with the Conservatives trailing Labour by 22 points in London, according to YouGov. But can the polls be trusted? Or could Tory gains in the Midlands undermine Labour’s success in the south? Here are the key battlegrounds to watch overnight: 1am: Basildon: Ukip was the only party to make gains in Basildon in 2016; two years on, their prospects are rather bleaker. The Tories – who have 19 seats on the council – will be hoping to

How bad will the local elections be for the Tories?

Next week, the Tories will face their first big electoral test since failing to deliver Brexit on time. On Thursday, the local elections take place – with 9,000 seats up for grabs. While the focus in recent weeks has been on the European elections next month – which will see Nigel Farage’s Brexit party and the pro-EU Change UK field candidates – these votes ought to give a hint of how deep the hole the Tories find themselves in really is. With Labour consistently leading in recent polls, the Tories are predicted to lose seats next week. However, owing to the timing of the election, there wasn’t time for the

The Tories should learn from Wandsworth – not celebrate it

I live in Wandsworth. It’s nice. That’s not a political comment, just an observation on the borough. OK, it’s not edgy or cool or even wildly imaginative, but neither am I. It is also the sort of place the Tories should win at a canter. There’s a reason it’s called a flagship council, after all. It’s still Conservative today and Tories are celebrating that: Theresa May has been in the borough lauding “success” and noting that Labour threw a lot of resources at Wandsworth and appeared to believe that it really might turn the borough red. Of course, a win’s a win and nothing else really matters, but I can’t

Isabel Hardman

Jeremy Corbyn attacks Tory local election spin

If you want to know how last night was for the Labour Party, you need to look no further than the statement that Jeremy Corbyn has just released on the results. It is not a celebratory comment on Labour’s spectacular night, but a defensive one, describing the local elections as a ‘solid set of results’. He adds: ‘In a sign of how worried they are about Labour’s advance, the Tories talked up our chances to unrealistic levels, especially in London. The results show they’re right to be worried – we came within a whisker of winning Wandsworth for the first time in over 40 years.’ Corbyn is right, by the


Chris Williamson’s Derby disaster

Oh dear. It’s not been a great night for Labour. Although Jeremy Corbyn’s party has managed to make gains in the cities, Labour has not managed to meet the sky high expectations they had for the local elections. However, it’s safe to say that Corbyn’s close ally Chris Williamson – the MP for Derby North – has had a particularly bad night. Williamson’s patch went one stop further and manage to actually buck the national trend. Ukip not only held on to one of its seats but a Ukip candidate took a seat from Labour. Labour has now lost control of the local authority, with the Conservatives making two gains. Had the

Katy Balls

Conservatives win the expectation management game in disappointing night for Labour

The Conservatives have had a successful night – at least when it comes to their expectation management campaign. There will be sighs of relief in CCHQ this morning over the first influx of local election results after the much anticipated Tory bloodbath in the local elections appears to have been more of a light wound than anything fatal. The Tories have managed to hold control of both Wandsworth and Westminster. There had been a consensus growing that were they to hold on to just one of these council it could be spun as a success. If they can hold on to Kensington – which they are now expected to –

Live local elections 2018: Labour falls short in London

The key results from the 2018 local elections: The Tories win Barnet and hold Westminster and Wandsworth, despite predictions Labour could seize the two Tory strongholds Labour take control of Plymouth from the Tories The Lib Dems win Richmond and Kingston-upon-Thames, on a good night for Vince Cable Ukip’s falling vote share hands the Tories control in Basildon and Peterborough. The party is so far down 106 seats Follow all the latest coverage on our live blog:

London shows what happens to the Tories when homeowners become a minority

Next Saturday had long been circled in Tory plotters’ diaries as the date on which the next effort to remove Theresa May would begin. But as I say in The Sun this morning, even May’s most ardent Tory critics now accept that next week’s local elections aren’t going to lead to her downfall. Why, because expectations are so low for the Tories that they are almost bound to surpass them. (May’s own position is also stronger than it was in January thanks to her handling of the Salisbury attack.) Tory insiders now believe that they are likely to hold one of their London flagship councils, Westminster and Wandsworth. This combined

The Spectator Podcast: Red London

In this week’s episode, we talk about red London – just how badly will the Tories do in the upcoming local elections, and why do people love Sadiq Khan? We also talk about the end of Macron’s political honeymoon, and the death of the Grand Tour. As national headlines are dominated by Jeremy Corbyn, local Labour candidates are preparing for a sweeping victory through London’s upcoming local elections. Will Heaven, the Spectator’s Managing Editor, writes in this week’s cover that ‘the Tories are braced for disaster’. Why is London turning red? Joining him is Andrew Gilligan, senior correspondent at the Sunday Times, who writes in this week’s magazine that Sadiq

Labour’s capital gains

Ever since last year’s general election, when Jeremy Corbyn inspired the strongest Labour surge since 1945, the Conservatives have been unsure if this was a freak occurrence or the start of something bigger. As they have learnt to their cost, opinion polls aren’t as reliable as they once were: only election results matter. There will be plenty next month, with seats on more than 150 councils all over England up for grabs. The Tories are nervous in lots of areas. But what terrifies them is London. The capital has served as the incubator of Corbynism, a brand of politics once laughed off as a niche Islington interest, yet now with

Will Russia disrupt the local elections?

Will Russia disrupt the local elections? That’s the question being asked in Westminster. But rather than worries over Russian meddling and subterfuge, the issue at hand is whether Jeremy Corbyn’s questionable response to the attempted murder of a former Russian double agent on British soil will help boost the Conservative vote come May. Those local elections are expected to be a blood bath for the Tories, with Labour predicted to win big – particularly in the capital. The Conservatives are so worried about the vote that the managing expectations operations includes suggesting that it would be a disappointing night for Labour if the party didn’t win every London council. But in

Why May might not be so bad for May

As Brexit tensions continue to simmer in the Conservative party, the May local elections look to be the next big danger point for Theresa May. MPs who are losing patience with the Prime Minister fear that any move now would be near impossible to justify to the public when the Tories remain neck-and-neck with Labour in the polls. The thinking goes that disappointing results in the local elections could provide the perfect cover to oust May from her position. It’s true that disappointing results look likely. In London, the Tories expect a bloodbath, with elections analyst Lord Hayward predicting that the party could lose more than half of their London

Portrait of the week | 11 May 2017

Home After spectacular local election results, Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said: ‘I’m taking nothing for granted over the next five weeks. I need support from across the United Kingdom to strengthen my hand, and only a vote for me and my team will ensure that Britain has the strong and stable leadership we need.’ The Conservatives increased their number of council seats by 563. Labour lost 382 and Ukip lost all 145 it held, but gained a single one, Padiham and Burnley West, Lancashire, from Labour. In Scotland, the Conservatives became the second party to the Scottish National Party and gained seven seats in Glasgow (where Labour lost control of

Where I’m from in Northumberland, the Tories don’t win – until now

The story of a council election decided by drawing straws isn’t the most remarkable thing to happen in Northumberland today, not by a long way. Pegswood. Cramlington. Morpeth.  These aren’t the names of places that normally figure much in national political reporting or debate. That’s because they’re in Northumberland, or more accurately, south Northumberland, where Labour has dominated for my entire lifetime until now. The first half of that life was spent in Northumberland, and I still call the place home even though I’ve lived somewhere else for more than 20 years.  I grew up in the glorious rural north of the county, but I went to school in Morpeth;