Lib Dem leader sees council power lost – even in his own back yard

The Liberal Democrats conceded defeat early this morning in the battle to hold on to the council in Nick Clegg's home city of Sheffield as the party's vote slumped across the North of England.

Party sources predicted they would lose as many as 12 of the 15 seats they were defending, handing control of city hall to Labour. The Liberal Democrat leader in Sheffield, Paul Scriven, said he feared the voters had "stuck two fingers up to the Government".

Labour sources also forecast they were heading for victory in Sheffield. The Liberal Democrats took power in Sheffield in 2008 and until last night ran a minority administration in the city, with 41 of the 84 seats.

Along with Liverpool, Newcastle and Hull – all areas where the Liberal Democrats were under pressure as counting got under way – the city came to symbolise the party's growing power base in the North of England.

Sheffield is also home to Mr Clegg's parliamentary constituency of Hallam and the Liberal Democrats chose it to stage their spring conference two months ago.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that the Liberal Democrats could lose 10 of the 12 seats they were defending in Hull, another of their flagship authorities. The Lib Dem council leader in Hull, Carl Minns, effectively admitted defeat when he said he would be "gobsmacked" if Labour did not make big gains in the city.

The party's support was also said to be collapsing in Liverpool and Manchester. Ken Ball, the leader of the Liberal Democrats on Chorley council, Lancashire, accused Mr Clegg of "letting the party down" and said he was so disillusioned he could resign from the party.

In the first result of the night, Labour tightened its grip on Sunderland council, where it won four seats from the Tories. It now holds 56 of the 75 seats on the authority.

The party also won the first declaration in elections to the Scottish Assembly, seeing off an SNP challenge in Rutherglen. However, in an early sign of how the political tide was flowing north of the border, Labour suffered a swing of 7.4 per cent to the Nationalists. The SNP gained East Kilbride moments later.

Labour will hope to capture a series of councils in the Midlands and the North of England, from the Liberal Democrats and the Tories, in election results due to be declared today.

The party is confident of winning Blackburn with Darwen, where it only needs to make one gain to take control of the Lancashire authority. The nearby council of Blackpool, which is currently run by the Tories, could be vulnerable to a large Labour swing.

The Conservatives are likely to hang on in Dudley, but only need to lose three seats in Walsall to lose overall control of its town hall.

In the South of England, the Tories are aiming to win the Liberal Democrat stronghold of Lewes, in East Sussex, where they need three gains from the Liberal Democrat coalition colleagues, and Winchester, where they have to make two gains to win control of the council.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory