Blair set to turn screw on old Labour - News - The Independent

Blair set to turn screw on old Labour

A SPECTACULAR Labour win yesterday in Harrow after a late count confirmed a marked suburban shift in its council strength paralleling its parliamentary gains at the last election.

Labour leaders are already using Thursday's election results to increase the pressure on "old" Labour councillors to shape up to the Blairite agenda or to face de-selection.

Tony Blair himself talked of receiving a "message from the electorate" that "good dynamic new Labour councils" were appreciated, leaving unspoken the thought that in Liverpool and Sheffield, where Labour lost heavily, old Labour deserved to lose.

Labour ministers will now review the "best value" programme for councils by which the Government hopes to convince voters it is as serious as the Tories were about efficiency in the town halls while ending compulsory competitive tendering of local services.

However, the voters' willingness to punish sleaze and poor performance was shown to be limited. Labour lost only three seats in Doncaster, where a police investigation is still going on and only four seats in Hull, where allegations of corruption have been flying amid evidence of chronic under-performance in the city's schools.

Official Tory satisfaction at gaining some 250 seats over their 1994 score was dented when in another late result, the party lost control of previously rock-solid Bromley in south London. Though Tories remain the largest party, the Liberal Democrats are likely to take power with Labour support.

Bromley - which in the early 1980s led the legal challenge to the Greater London Council led by Ken Livingstone - also registered, at 42 per cent, the most opposition to the Government's plan to give the capital an elected mayor. Enthusiasm for the scheme - if that is the right word to characterise an average turn out of a third of registered electors - was noticeably higher in inner London than in suburbia. Seventy two per cent voted in favour, with 28 per cent against.

In Liverpool, where the Liberal Democrats gained 10 seats to take overall control, there is now likely to be a concerted effort by Labour officials to reform party procedures. One of the first tasks confronting the Liberal Democrats will be to reconsider putting city services out to private contract - something strenuously resisted by Labour. Liverpool's residents, who are charged the highest rate of council tax in the country, face a period of industrial action by municipal employees.

The overall result does not much change the geography of local politics, with Labour remaining solidly in control of the Local Government Association, based on its strength in London and the cities.

In the capital, Labour lost control in Hillingdon but gained an overall majority in Brent, Waltham Forest and in Lambeth, where it appears to have convinced electors that old Labour inefficiency is a thing of the past. The party did well in impregnable boroughs such as Greenwich and Hammersmith and also in areas once considered prime Tory territory, including Ealing, Enfield and Croydon.

The Liberal Democrats, despite aggregate losses totalling just over 100 seats, remain the second strongest local government party - able to lose significant seats in places such as Cheltenham, Worthing and Eastbourne but still stay in charge. The party did, however, lose control in former strongholds, in Kingston upon Thames and the Isle of Wight - where the Tories picked up 9 seats - and saw several of its other authorities move to a position where no single party has a commanding majority.

The Tories gained seats in no set pattern, taking overall control in Runnymede and Tunbridge Wells, and picking up odd seats in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Bristol, Portsmouth and Bradford.

The flagship London boroughs did the party proud, registering a number of extra seats. In Wandsworth, where council tax was cut last month, the voters gave the Conservative majority five extra seats.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skies as 007 for first time
Sport
footballThe latest scores and news from Dortmund vs Arsenal and Liverpool vs Ludogorets
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
Life and Style
techCriminals now targeting e-readers
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Life and Style
fashion
Travel
news This video may make you think twice about ever taking the Tube again
Life and Style
A spider is seen in its web on September 16, 2014 in Hohen Meissner, Germany.
tech The 'Spider in Da House' app has been developed by scientists to tackle arachnophobia
Life and Style
fashionIncredibly, it hasn't been branded 'Will.eye.am'
News
A plane flies close to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano
newsAnd yes, it's quite something
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week