Local elections – Friday open thread

by Stephen Tall on June 5, 2009

English local election results will be pouring in throughout the day. Lib Dem Voice will try and keep you abreast of what’s happening across the country, as we did throughout Thursday night with our open thread – many thanks in particular to those commenting who were able to break the good news that the Lib Dems had taken majority control of Bristol City Council amid disastrous results for Labour. Please do keep the news coming in from wherever you live.

As at 9.50 am, the BBC results scoreboard is telling me that the Lib Dems are the only party showing net gains in both numbers of councillors and councils controlled (+1 in each category).

Let’s see what the rest of the day brings, especially in the south-west (Devon and Cornwall, which Lib Dems are defending) and in Somerset, where Lib Dems currently have minority control of the hung council.


Conservatives have taken control of Nottinghamshire.

Labour have come fourth behind the Monster Raving Loony Party in a ward in Huntingdonshire.

Lib Dem candidates have defeated the Conservative leader in Cumbria and the Labour leader in Nottinghamshire.

Lib Dems take Colchester Maypole from Labour.

Lib Dems take Wellesbourne, Studley and both seats in Stratford South from the Tories in Warwickshire. All in the Stratford on Avon district.

Hampshire: across our three Parliamentary seats of Eastleigh, Romsey and Winchester, we held all our marginal wards against the Conservatives, with many big increases in majorities.

Essex: three gains from the Tories now.

South West: Somerset and Devon look to be lost to the Conservatives. Awaiting further news from Cornwall.

Lancashire County Council: five gains have been declared in Burnley, though two losses elsewhere in county. Looks like Conservatives will take control.

One gain from the Tories in Watford.

BNP gain seat on Lancashire County Council.

Sky projects from local election results to a Tory landslide general election result, with number of Liberal Democrat seats creeping up.

Ashfield: election results in Geoff Hoon’s backyard looking very bad for Labour.

Somerset: Conservatives take control of the county council from the Liberal Democrats.

Guardian piece on fantastic victory in Bristol. Congratulations to everyone in the accompanying picture for managing to look mostly normal despite having mouths open and arms in air.

Labour lose control of Staffordshire. May end the day without having got control of any council up for election today.

Not only Labour facing wipe out in Burnley, also struggling to hold last seat in Westmorland.

News also starting to come in from up north with gains for Lib Dems in Burnley and Labour struggling to win any seat. May yet cling on to one seat.

Hampshire results looking good. Expect to hold all seats against Tories in Winchester. But Somerset isn’t good.

Nick Clegg’s reaction to the results so far: watch it via The Telegraph.

Hunt the Labour vote: seems to be a competition going amongst counting agents in some places to play “spot the ballot box with the worst Labour vote”. One in Hampshire is winning at the moment with only one Labour ballot paper.

Lib Dem vs Tories in southern England: looks to be a mixed picture. No big Tory tide sweeping all before it, but there will be some good individual results for them. However, Lib Dems also gaining from Tories in other places – such as East Surrey, Woking, Norfolk and Eastbourne, where we’re +1 against the Tories in each.

Hartlepool: independent Mayor Stuart Drummond (he of monkey mascot fame) has been re-elected, again.

Lincolnshire: very good results for the Conservatives with gain of 15 seats so far. Their vote also up, but only by half the Labour fall as other candidates put on the votes. Pointer for other results and Euros perhaps?

Polling day is over but the ads continue: lots of Conservative Google Ads urging people to vote Conservative in the European elections are still appearing on sites. Someone forgot to pull the plug or Google being slow to update?

Eric Pickles’ home patch: Lib Dems gain two seats from the Conservatives. Overall on Essex County Council it’s some Lib Dem gains, more Tory gains and lots of Labour losses.

Weirdest knocking up tale so far: Conservatives tried knocking up the Liberal Democrat committee room in the Vauxhall (London) by-election.

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Cambs CC is now fully declared. Lib Dems lost 4 seats in East Cambs to Conservatives, took 3 seats in South Cambs from Conservatives and gained and lost one each in Huntingdonshire. We took King’s Hedges from Labour in Cambridge city, and Labour lost Abbey to the Greens (their first county council seat) on a big swing. We also held onto Petersfield (a ward whose three city councillors are all Labour) and Castle (where an Independent, ex Lib Dem, came second).

Net results: Conservatives 42 (n/c), Lib Dems 23 (n/c), Labour 2 (-2), Green 1 (+1). What seems to have happened is that Lib Dem support is now more concentrated in the south of the county (rural South Cambs and Cambridge city).

As a curiosity, the Libertarian Party’s only candidate to public office came bottom of the poll in Wisbech South with 140 votes.

by Niklas Smith on June 5, 2009 at 4:58 pm. Reply #

We should be up in Leics as we have matched 2005 performance with 3 LD wards yet to declare

by Peter Dunphy on June 5, 2009 at 4:59 pm. Reply #


In Devon vote share are Tories 42% and Lib Dems 30%.

Not great – but not as bad as the movement in seats might make you think.

The Tories will probably be nearly as disappointed with 42% as we will with 30%.

I suspect this is a bad omen for the Euro results though.

by Peter Welch on June 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm. Reply #

Crap turnout en Kernow…low 20’s. 39/22/20/2…at present. 34%/28% vote share.

by cogload on June 5, 2009 at 5:11 pm. Reply #

Surrey all in. Bleurgh. Was looking like we might be making a bit of an inroad there for a while.

Con 56 (-3)
Lib Dem 13 (+1)
Res Assoc 9 (+2)
Labour 1 (-1)
Ind 1 (+1)

by Alix Mortimer on June 5, 2009 at 5:31 pm. Reply #

Thank the maker that Restormel is yet to declare in Kernow. There have been a few losses in the Borough, but there should be some decent holds.

by cogload on June 5, 2009 at 5:43 pm. Reply #

Labour lost all their four seats on Dorset CC, all in Weymouth & Portland, three to Tory one to Lib Dem. We also (re)gained with a 20% majority the marginal Weymouth Town ward where incumbent had crossed the floor to join the Tories and stood under his new colours, and held the ultra-marginal Lodmoor where ex-MP Ian Bruce stood as Tory candidate.

For first time ever we outpolled the Tories across the whole of Weymouth, and turnouts were pretty decent overall.

Total wipeout for Labour, behind us in every seat but one, which was where the current mayor and defending CCllr was 40 ahead of us.

So far know of one gain and two losses elsewhere in Dorset.

by Ian Roebuck on June 5, 2009 at 5:46 pm. Reply #

Independants move ahead en Kernow. Not unexpected…

by cogload on June 5, 2009 at 5:51 pm. Reply #

Current score:

Conservative 41 34%
Liberal Democrat 28 28%
Independent 26 23%
Mebyon Kernow 2 4%

Slightly slow as MK have won a 3rd seat, and Restormel is in and there have been losses to the Tories there (St. Dennis). However the City of Truro (my home in spirit) seems to be coming through.

by cogload on June 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm. Reply #

I just cannot believe the electorate in Teignbridge. LD has been the best ever for us here compared to Torbay under the Tories..I understand peoples anger at the sleaze that has gone on but they have so cut of their noses to spite their faces. If Torbay is anything to go by we are so going to pay for this mistake.A very sad day for Teignbridge

by Wendy on June 5, 2009 at 6:15 pm. Reply #

And whoever is “speaking” for the Liberal D’s on BBC Radio Cornwall needs to be taken out and spanked soundly. Good job the election has finished…otherwise there could have been another 10k votes lost…

by cogload on June 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm. Reply #

Final result in Cornwall:
Conservatives 50
Liberal D..38
Indies 32
MK 3

Council to NOC. Labour fail to win a single seat. Some weird results, and hopefully Steve R. can return next time.

by cogload on June 5, 2009 at 6:50 pm. Reply #

Essex final score

Con 60 (+10)
LD 12 (+4)
Lab 1 (-12)
Ind 2 (n/c)
Others 0 (-2)

Labour nearly wiped out altogether. Wasn’t a straight wipe-out though. At least three of our gains were from the Tories. They in turn gained off Labour. Weird. Strange also to see “Others” decreasing here.

by Alix Mortimer on June 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm. Reply #

Not a good result in Oxfordshire. 4 wards lost to Tories – these wards cover most of Evan Harris’ seat. Also 1 ward lost TO LABOUR(!!) in Oxford City. ouch. Labour have done pretty well in Oxford City actually, picking up 5 seats. Of course FPTP has magnified small changes in vote share, and the Greens have done fairly well too which might have not helped.

by Simon on June 5, 2009 at 6:55 pm. Reply #

Labour getting another trouncing in Northamptonshire. Looks like we’ll pick up one or two.

by Alix Mortimer on June 5, 2009 at 6:56 pm. Reply #

Dorset Egdon Heath LD gain from Tory by four votes after 3 recounts. majority successively 2,3,3,4. The RO, under pressure from incumbent Tory and agent, didn’t declare it after two successive identical counts but as majority increased on 4th count said enough is enough.

by Ian Roebuck on June 5, 2009 at 7:02 pm. Reply #

As I feared, Market Harborough West and Foxton is a Con Gain from Lib Dem – by 8 votes. Lib Dems still heading for net gains in Leics.

One welcome gain in Northants is in Corby – our first seat there for many moons.

by Ian Ridley on June 5, 2009 at 7:05 pm. Reply #

Final from Leicestershire. Not bad (apart from the BNP seat).

Con 36 (+5)
LD 14 (+3)
Lab 4 (-9)
BNP 1 (+1)

by Alix Mortimer on June 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm. Reply #

I just blogged about how much the Conservatives unfairly benefited from our rubbish democracy.


by Different Duncan on June 5, 2009 at 7:49 pm. Reply #

Final Leics result was Market Harborough East. Lib Dems held off the Tories by 27 votes. A relief given the result in MH West & Foxton

by Ian Ridley on June 5, 2009 at 7:54 pm. Reply #

@Stephen Coincidentally I’ve just been looking at Devon’s results.

by Lonely Wonderer on June 5, 2009 at 8:24 pm. Reply #

Drat. Can’t type. Should have been http://hopingformorethanslogans.blogspot.com/2009/06/devon-election-results.html

by Lonely Wonderer on June 5, 2009 at 8:26 pm. Reply #

Oh dear 🙂

Don’t you now have to dissolve the party now or something.

by Hywel on June 5, 2009 at 9:01 pm. Reply #

Picked off three Tory prime seats in the Stratford on Avon constituency, but lost one — after picking up the best result against the Tories anywhere last year. The net gain of two in Stratford plus net hold across rest of the county pushes Lib-Dems ahead of Labour in Warwickshire, and are now official opposition.

by Martin Turner on June 5, 2009 at 10:14 pm. Reply #

Have we ever been in control of Leicestershire or even come close???

by jim on June 5, 2009 at 10:32 pm. Reply #

I think Matthew is partly right when he points to incumbency as a factor explaining the poor performances in the South-West. What he needs to tell us, and doesn’t, is why some Lib Dem councils survive election after election (eg, Sutton, Stockport, Lewes, Eastleigh), while others yo-yo (Devon and Somerset). Perhaps it has something to do with the ability of Lib Dems locally to defend their administrations. How many of those defeated Devon councillors put out regular Focuses, one wonders? How much time did they spend in County Hall rather than among their voters? Lib Dems did much better in areas with a long history of professional campaigning (eg, Watford, Eastleigh, Winchester, Eastbourne). The laid back and laccadaisical lost out badly.

The Labour wipe-out wasn’t as comprehensive as it first appears. They held on in Exeter and Hastings, and still have a county councillor in Colchester with quite a hefty majority. Labour isn’t finished yet. Once they stop committing hara kiri in public, and the economy begins to mend, they will be back.

BTW, what has happened to all the trolls demanding the lynching of Lord Rennard? Have they, perhaps, been busy getting the vote out for David Cameron these past few days? If I were Nick Clegg, I would send Lord Rennard on a special mission to Devon.

by Sesenco on June 5, 2009 at 11:31 pm. Reply #

@ Simon – true, the overall Oxfordhsire results are not great for the Lib Dems (down 5) – but the Oxford city results aren’t so bad. True, we lost one seat to Lab (in what is now a split county division), but the real losers were the Greens, who lost three seats to Labour.

In terms of the share of the vote in the city, the Lib Dems were ahead of Labour (29% to 28%), with the Greens on 22% and the Tories on 18%. This was slightly down on the LD ’05 result – but that was general election day in a student city, so perhaps not surprising.

by Stephen Tall on June 6, 2009 at 12:32 am. Reply #


You ask why do some LibDem councils go on and on, and others are lost.

You are right that there are local organisational factors, and this just proves my point – however much the national media may insist it’s all just a referendum on national politics, it just ain’t so.

I don’t know enough about what happens in Devon and Somerset to say for sure. I know a little about what happened in Adur, which for years and years was a successful Liberal then Liberal Democrat District Council (it’s the bit between Worthing and Brighton in Sussex), and then it suddenly all imploded. It was all down to silly local personal factors really.

It may just be that places like Lewes are more naturally liberal, while in the south-west they are less ideologically liberal and the party’s strength there is more a historical thing, which is losing out as the party is establishing a stronger ideological identity. Just a guess, that, weak campaigning and resting on laurels is likely also to be a big factor.

by Matthew Huntbach on June 6, 2009 at 11:40 pm. Reply #

Just looked closer at the East Sussex results, Lewes itself (the town which forms part of the district/constituency) is represented by an Independent who won with a massive majority – history seems to be she was a LibDem once, flirted with the Greens, but is now firmly Independent.

Polegate Willingdon and East Dean is a two-member division, represented by two Independents who also had large majorities, are ex-LibDems, and are both member of a Chinese family called Shing.

Labour has done bizarrely well in Hastings.

Over in West Sussex, the complete disappearance of the LibDems in their once stronghold of Adur shows what I said. But the LibDems do have the majority of seats in Worthing.

There are local factors in all of these. The nmational media’s inability to capture these and to suppose instead it’s all down to national swing is just pure laziness and ignorance. Why can’t they print some interesting and useful news such as the stories behind all this?

by Matthew Huntbach on June 7, 2009 at 12:32 am. Reply #

Actually – when Ian Roebuck posted he didn’t have the full news on Dorset. In South Dorset we gained 3 seats – 2 from the Tories (one, Egdon Heath by just 4 votes) & 1 from Labour. That’s one extra seat ont eh County Council.

Gains against the Tories totally against the national trend & the trend in the South West.

Looking very interesting for us in the General Election now !!

by Ros Kayes on June 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm. Reply #

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