Tories AND Labour Haemorrhage Seats
As results for local elections in England continue to roll in, the Conservative Party under Theresa May has already lost over 400 councillors, with pollsters predicted these losses could double by the time the counting is over — but voters have also turned on the Labour Party, in what looks to have been a bad night for the two-party establishment.
It was long predicted that the local elections would be a bloodbath for the Tories after Theresa May alienated Leave voters by pursuing a deal with the EU which retains many aspects of EU membership and delayed Brexit twice, despite many promises she would not do so.
The Labour opposition, however, does not appear to have benefited from Mrs May’s misfortune, as is typical in such elections, and has lost over 80 councillors itself — likely due to its own ambivalent stance on Brexit.
The night’s big winners so appear to be the Liberal Democrats, a much-diminished political force which has nevertheless managed to crystalise the support of diehard Remain voters by billing itself as the anti-Brexit party, and independent candidates, who have garnered an unusually high share of support where they can.
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which has surged to first place in polls for the European Parliament elections, was not standing in the elections, and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) which he led formerly had to significantly scale back the number of candidates it put forward compared to the last local elections, leaving many voters without an explicitly pro-Brexit party to vote for.
However, there are a few bright spots for the Gerard Batten-led party: while its number of councillors has fallen overall, with diminished support in some areas where it did stand, it has captured some seats in England’s working-class heartlands with crushing majorities — gaining by almost 30 per cent and capturing over 50 per cent of the vote overall in Alvaston in Derby, for example.
Results are still coming in. This story is developing…