Local elections 2019: Conservatives and Labour suffer Brexit fallout as voters turn elsewhere

Early results indicate the Lib Dems and Greens could benefit from voter dissatisfaction with the two biggest parties

Harry Cockburn
Friday 03 May 2019 05:38
Comments
Local elections: The current state of the parties

As the counts got underway during the local elections in England and Northern Ireland, voters appeared to be on track to deliver a stinging rebuke to both Theresa May‘s Conservative Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, with a largely divided and dissatisfied electorate.

More than 8,000 seats on English councils were up for grabs in the first elections since Britain missed its 29 March Brexit date, and the first since 2015, the same day as the Conservatives won the general election.

The first results came in less than two hours after polls closed, with Labour holding councils it already controlled, but support for the party appeared to have fallen sharply since 2015, with early results indicating some swell in support for the anti-Brexit parties the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

When the full results are known, later on Friday, many analysts believe they will paint a picture, albeit an imperfect one, of how the handling for Brexit has impacted support for the Tories Conservative Party, and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

The Conservatives have been forecast to lose hundreds of seats, with one analysis suggesting the final toll could top 1,000.

Labour, which has rejected Ms May’s vision of Brexit, were expected to make gains, at the Conservatives’ expense.

Brexit minister James Cleverly said Brexit was “the backdrop” for the local elections.

“Because the Labour Party have failed to help land Brexit, there will be frustration. And because we are the party of government, that will disproportionately be taken out on us. I wish it weren’t so, but we’ve got to be realistic about this.”

Later in the night, Barnsley council leader, Labour’s Steve Houghton, told the BBC It was “not looking good” for his party.

“This is going to be a very difficult night for Labour. We’ve been out and about across the borough and the message we’re getting loud and clear is all about Brexit and the residents are telling us they’re going to make sure there’s some changes because of their dissatisfaction.”

Roughly half of the results came in overnight, with the rest due to arrive during the daytime on Friday.

Although coming just a few weeks before this month’s European elections, the results from Thursday’s election will not provide a clear guide to the forthcoming vote as neither Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party nor the Remain-backing Change UK have fielded candidates.

In Northern Ireland a total of 819 local council candidates were standing across 11 council areas.

Initial indications from some of the 1,463 polling stations across Northern Ireland suggest a solid turnout, with the good weather appearing to have buoyed numbers casting their ballots.

The official turnout figure in the last council election in 2014 was 51 per cent.

There will be overnight verification of unused ballot papers returned from the polling stations, with councils ready to begin counting on Friday at 8am. Counting will continue into Saturday before the final picture is known.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in