Local elections

Local elections: West Midlands win caps off a day of stunning successes for the Tories

The Tories are up 540 seats, have gained control of 11 councils and enjoyed success in the Tees Valley, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and West of England mayoral races. Conservative candidate Andy Street has won the West Midlands mayoral contest. Labour’s vote has plummeted, with the party losing 360 seats as well as control of six councils. Labour’s Steve Rotherham won in Liverpool’s mayoral contest; Andy Burnham won in Greater Manchester. Ukip has lost every seat it was defending. The party has gained one seat across the whole country – in Lancashire, from Labour. The Lib Dems have lost 24 seats but have seen their share of the national vote jump by seven per cent. The SNP are


Look away Corbyn! Charlotte Church trades Labour for Plaid Cymru in Welsh Assembly elections

Although Charlotte Church is seen to be a die-hard Corbynista — previously speaking at rallies to support the Labour leader — it appears that the prosecco-socialist is beginning to have second thoughts about Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. Rather than vote for Corbyn’s beloved Labour in today’s Welsh Assembly elections, Church has tweeted to say that she is backing Leanne Wood’s Plaid Cymru. @Plaid_Cymru all the way for me today!!! — Charlotte Church (@charlottechurch) May 5, 2016 She has since defended her decision not to support Welsh Labour’s Carwyn Jones, claiming that those who describe this as a defection don’t understand Welsh politics. ITS THE WELSH ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS!!!!! CARWYN JONES IS LEADER OF WELSH LABOUR NOT CORBYN!!!! I

Labour can only survive by pretending Corbyn has gone

In spite of everything against them, the Labour party scored an historic victory last night in the City of London. Five Labour councillors were elected in wards that are traditionally contested by ‘independents’ (usually retiree residents who are inclined towards the pomp and ceremony). It was their highest ever total. People will, of course, be quick to point out that the City of London is the 325th smallest authority in England, out of a total of 326. It has 25 wards covering the area that would, in most authorities, be designated to a single ward. Labour also only has 5 Commoners (the antiquated term the City uses in favour of

Sadiq Khan boosts party morale as Corbyn forgets his lines at PLP meeting

Although Labour MPs have been encouraged not to brief what happens at meetings of the PLP to lurking journalists, Jeremy Corbyn’s team have no issue briefing out what the leader will say at the meeting before it even occurs. Today hacks were told that Corbyn would use the meeting to clampdown on party in-fighting as members are sick of MPs ‘parading on the media to give a running commentary’. However, what he actually said is another story. The Labour leader toned down his prose considerably — presumably in the quest for party unity — even though his harsher warning was already readable online. Despite this slip-up, the meeting was one of


Labour party relations hit a new low

After Labour’s local election results proved to be less catastrophic than many pundits predicted, John McDonnell told party naysayers it was time to ‘put up or shut up’. The comments went on to anger disgruntled Blairites in Labour who argue the party ought to strive for greater success. Speaking on the Sunday Politics, Caroline Flint appeared to reinforce this point as she said it wasn’t enough for the shadow chancellor to say Labour was looking to ‘hang on’: ‘We need to make a hell of a lot more progress. It’s not enough. We have to show we are a party that is competitively challenging for government. We have to reach out beyond.’ Alas the

Election results: what you need to know

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

Tom Goodenough

The Spectator podcast: Erdogan’s Europe

To subscribe to The Spectator’s weekly podcast, for free, visit the iTunes store or click here for our RSS feed. Alternatively, you can follow us on SoundCloud. Has Erdogan brought Europe to heel? In his Spectator cover piece, Douglas Murray argues that the Turkish President has used a mixture of intimidation, threats and blackmail to do just that and throw open the doors of Europe to Turkey. Douglas says Erdogan is a ‘wretched Islamist bully’ who has shown just how the EU works. But in pushing Europe around, is Erdogan now more powerful than Merkel, Juncker and Cameron? And how does the Turkish PM’s resignation this week changed the country’s

May 2016 elections: The Spectator guide

Britain goes to the polls this week, as electoral contests take place in London, Scotland, Wales and across England. They’re the elections which James Forsyth described in the Spectator last week as the ones ‘no one has even heard of’. So what will happen on Thursday night and when will the results be announced? Here’s The Spectator’s run-through of the May 2016 elections: London Mayoral election: Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan go head-to-head in the London Mayoral contest. In 2012, Boris and Ken ran a close-fought race, with Boris getting 971,000 first-round votes to Ken’s 889,918. The relatively small margin between the two meant the result didn’t filter through until

Have Hamas declared their support for Jeremy Corbyn?

It’s less than 48 hours until the polls open for the local elections and following last week’s anti-Semitism media-storm, Corbyn needs all the friends he can get if he hopes to keep voters onside. Alas, some friends are more helpful than others. As Labour try and show that they do not condone anti-Semitism, Corbyn has reportedly received a declaration of support from… Hamas. Yes, following Corbyn’s decision to reject calls to denounce the Islamist group — whose armed wing is banned as a terrorist organisation in the UK —  Breitbart Jerusalem report that Taher A-Nunu, a senior Hamas official, has said that Corbyn’s willingness to engage with the Gaza-based group as a

Isabel Hardman

Corbyn makes his life more difficult by saying Labour won’t lose local council seats

Jeremy Corbyn’s critics may well be setting the Labour leader impossible challenges by demanding that the party wins 400 seats in this week’s local elections. But Corbyn himself isn’t exactly making things easier either, telling reporters today that his party won’t lose seats on Thursday. Independent experts such as Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher are predicting substantial net losses of around 150 seats, so unless Corbyn has better intelligence than these very reliable sources, he seems to be setting himself a challenge that he knows he will fail. Why is the Labour leader doing this? The Rallings and Thrasher predictions, coupled with the very downbeat briefings that the party has

Labour MPs’ next choice: which leadership coup to back

[audioplayer src=”http://rss.acast.com/viewfrom22/thecleaneatingcult/media.mp3″ title=”Isabel Harrdman and George Eaton discuss what happens if Jeremy Corbyn wins” startat=696] Listen [/audioplayer]Jeremy Corbyn’s close friend Tony Benn had five questions he always asked of those in power: ‘What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how do we get rid of you?’ Labour’s leadership election has a month left to run, but most of those involved think Corbyn will triumph. So they’ve already started working out how they’ll get rid of him. John McTernan, a former Blair adviser, recommends deposing him immediately. As he said on The Spectator’s podcast:

Ukip are like the Russian rebels in Ukraine, says David Aaronovitch. Seriously.

The latest spurt of bile from the metro left about UKIP, and the people who voted for Ukip, comes from the extremely self-satisfied David Aaronovitch, a chap who grows more absurd each year as his waistline becomes ever more vast. Next to nobody voted for UKIP, he maintains. The 73 per cent of the population who didn’t vote for them (the majority of these, of course, did not vote at all) wish the party to simply “go away”. I thought you’d enjoy this extract – he is the first of his breed to compare UKIP supporters to the Russian rebels in Ukraine, who are of course another collective bete noir

Taxi firm Addison Lee’s spiteful prank on ITN

Mini-cab firm Addison Lee exacted cold revenge on ITN last night at about the worst possible time. Slap bang in the middle of the election coverage, they cancelled the news provider’s taxi account. ITN had recently announced that they would be moving the company account to a rival firm, and Addison Lee did not take this news well – suspending their account in the middle of the night on one of the busiest news nights of the year. In a frantic email to all their staff – and crucially the guest bookers – ITN bosses vented their anger: ‘Our decision to move to Green Tomato is based on a number

Isabel Hardman

Labour MP warns on party’s failure to equip activists for battle with Ukip

Labour’s performance in the local elections is a blessing for the Conservatives. A less impressive showing in the polls for the Opposition a year out from the general election, with key target councils failing to go red and what John Curtice has described as a ‘failure to do well enough’ means the story is not just about the government getting a pounding. Number 10 sources are arguing that ‘Labour are actually going backwards’. Some MPs long known to be vocal critics of Ed Miliband are taking to the airwaves to criticise him. Graham Stringer has attacked the Labour leader’s ‘unprofessional’ team. Simon Danczuk has just told LBC that ‘I’m not

Isabel Hardman

Shapps slaps down fresh calls for Ukip pact

Inevitably, given Ukip has made strong gains overnight, some Conservative MPs have been renewing their calls for a Tory-Ukip pact. Conservative ministers have been quick to brush this off, with Grant Shapps arguing: ‘We’re not going to have a pact or joint candidates, or whatever. It can’t happen on a technical basis because we do not allow joint candidates to stand… It’s not going to happen because we’re the Conservative party; we are the best chance to offer an in/out referendum, the only chance.’ Michael Gove was also asked about this on Good Morning Britain, and he said: ‘Absolutely not. I don’t think we should have a pact.’ The Tories

Isabel Hardman

Local elections 2014: overnight round-up

Around a third of all councils up for election yesterday have now declared. Here are the results so far: So far the Conservatives have lost eight councils, with 15 declared Conservative. The Tories have 1,005 seats (a loss of 85). Labour has gained 73 seats with 1,280 now Labour and two councils, with 25 declared Labour. The Lib Dems have one council declared for them, losing one. Seven councils have moved to no overall control – a total of 16 councils are NOC so far. Ukip has not won any councils but has gained 81 seats taking it 102. This means the party has already met its target of 80

I’ve had it with the insufferable London elite. Have you?

‘I’ve had it with these people. They are so smug; they think they know everything and they know nothing. They want a good kick in the face.’ So said a close friend of mine, more usually a Labour voter, before she went out to vote for Ukip earlier today. I think it was the Jasmine Lawrence thing which tipped her over the edge. Jasmine is, improbably enough, the boss of the BBC’s News Channel. She had ‘tweeted’ that Ukip was a sexist and racist party – yesterday. Of course, she should be sacked. Right now. The BBC’s News Channel is supposedly impartial – that’s what we pay for, an impartial service.

Isabel Hardman

Polls closed: what to expect

Now the waiting begins. If you’re interested in the results of around 50 councils which expect to declare overnight, here they are: Basildon, Basingstoke & Deane, Bexley, Birmingham, Bolton, Brentwood, Broxbourne, Bristol, Cambridge, Cannock Chase, Carlisle, Castle Point, Colchester, Coventry, Croydon, Daventry, Derby, Eastleigh, Enfield, Fareham, Gloucester, Gosport, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Harlow, Hartlepool, Hastings, Havant, Hertsmere, Ipswich, Kingston-upon-Hull, Kingston-upon-Thames, Lincoln, Liverpool, Maidstone, Merton, Nuneaton & Bedworth, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Purbeck Redbridge, Richmond-upon-Thames, Rochdale, Rochford, Rotherham, Runnymede, Rushmoor, Sandwell, South Tyneside, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Stevenage, Stratford-on-Avon, Sunderland, Sutton, Swindon, Tameside, Tamworth, Tandridge, Thurrock, Walsall, Wandsworth, Welwyn Hatfield, Wigan, Worcester. Here are some particularly interesting results to look out for: Kingston-upon-Thames: The Conservatives hope

Douglas Murray

Matthew d’Ancona has unwittingly shown why people want to vote Ukip

Well it’s polling day, and if anybody wants a spur to vote Ukip they have two options: Peter Oborne’s stirring cover piece in the new issue of The Spectator and Matthew d’Ancona’s column in yesterday’s Evening Standard. If the sight of white activists pretending to be Romanians so that they could accuse black UKIP members of ‘racism’ did not push you over the edge, then d’Ancona’s column probably will. His article was headlined: ‘We must expose UKIP as the racist party it is.’ This is some promise: for years, Ukip’s enemies have been trying to suggest that the party is racist. D’Ancona’s evidence? Ukip seemed to be racist because it –

Why people will be voting for Ukip this Thursday

Despite levels of media scrutiny and hostility unseen in recent political history, this Thursday up to 30 per cent of British voters will opt for Ukip. The odd thing is that the more outrageous the slurs made against them, and the wackier the members unveiled in the press, the more their popularity surges, perhaps out of bloody-mindedness; if a Ukip candidate was caught committing autoerotic asphyxiation dressed in a Gestapo uniform tomorrow the party would probably be on 50 per cent by the end of the week. One of the reasons is that Ukip is a product of lowered trust; the party’s supporters have noticeably less trust in politicians than