Local election results 2014: Gloomy results all round - unless you're a Ukip voter

 

Only London, with its well educated population, resisted the Ukip tide. In the capital, Nigel Farage’s party managed only 11 per cent of the vote on average in the wards in which it stood.

Partly as a result, Ukip’s overall performance was not quite as good as in last year’s county council elections; the BBC projected a 17 per cent share of the national vote, down six points on last year.

All of Westminster’s principal parties looked forward to today’s local election results with a mixture of fear and trepidation. None could be sure of securing a respectable result in the wake of Ukip’s rise, the recent narrowing of Labour’s opinion poll lead and the Liberal Democrats’ rock bottom ratings.

Their fears proved to be well founded. Ukip again performed above expectations. On average it won 22 per cent of the vote in the wards in which it stood. “Essex man” warmed to Mr Farage, as Ukip made no less than 31 gains in Basildon, Castle Point, Southend, and Thurrock alone. Its overall tally of around 150 net gains represents a further significant extension of its local government base.

 

Labour wanted to show it was clearly on course to win next year’s general election. Instead, yesterday’s results again raise questions about whether there really is much enthusiasm to see Labour in power again. It vote was up on average by only four points on 2010, when the party had collapsed to its second worst defeat in its history. The BBC reckoned Labour’s performance was worth only a two-point lead over the Conservatives, not necessarily enough to win a parliamentary majority.

As anticipated, Labour did manage to capture control of a number of London councils. However, this simply reflected the fact that more seats were up for grabs in the capital; the swing from Conservative to Labour was no higher than elsewhere. Much the same was true of the swing in Conservative/Labour marginal seats.

Read more: Full local election results

Conservative MPs were hoping the local elections would show economic recovery was beginning to be reflected in the ballot box. But the party’s vote was not just six points down on average on 2010, but was also two points down on 2012, just after the “omnishambles Budget” that cost the party dear. Winning back voters from Ukip is proving a much more difficult task than Tory backbenchers had ever imagined.

Still, perhaps no more difficult a task than the Liberal Democrats face to avoid disaster next year. At 13 per cent, its performance was projected by the BBC to be its worst local election result yet. The party tried to comfort itself with the thought that its vote was holding up better in some places where it has an MP. Yet in practice the Lib Dem vote fell on average in such places by 13 points – exactly the same as everywhere else.

Expect Westminster to be a rather gloomy place when MPs return for the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday week.

John Curtice is Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University

Read more: Labour and Tories left reeling
Coalition tries to shift focus
Labour takes Cameron's 'favourite' council
Farage: 'The fox is in the henhouse'
Ukip: London 'too educated and cultured' to vote for us
'I'm not resigning' says Clegg
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Sport
The RBS Six Nations trophy at the Aviva Stadium ahead of Ireland vs England
rugby
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West found himself at the centre of a critical storm over the weekend after he apparently claimed to be “the next Mandela” during a radio interview
music
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
News
i100
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?