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Local elections - as it happened: Corbyn insists Labour ‘ready for an election', despite missing top London targets

All the latest updates, as they happened

Lizzy Buchan,Ashley Cowburn
Friday 04 May 2018 17:45 BST
Local Elections 2018: The results so far

Labour has urged the government to scrap controversial ID pilots, which saw some voters turned away during local elections in England.

Parties faced mixed results at the polls, although Jeremy Corbyn insisted Labour was "absolutely ready" for a general election, despite failing to deliver on its pledge to snatch key councils from the Tory clutches.

While Labour made gains in areas like Plymouth and Trafford, it was unable to win the Tory "crown jewels" in London, such as Wandsworth and Westminster.

The party had hoped to seize Kensington and Chelsea from the Tories in the wake of public outcry over the Grenfell Tower tragedy but failed to do so, while its chances in Barnet - which has a large Jewish population - may have been damaged by the recent antisemitism row.

The Conservatives capitalised on the near-collapse of Ukip, and gained control of councils in Peterborough, Southend and Basildon, with a small swing in their favour outside London.

Elsewhere, the Liberal Democrats won several councils - including target seats of Richmond-upon-Thames and Kingston-upon-Thames - while the Greens elected a string of new councillors.


Welcome to The Independent's coverage of the 2018 local elections.

Kristin Hugo3 May 2018 09:42

Today's local elections are seeing voter ID checks being trialled in some areas.

The controversial change will see people going to cast their ballot in five areas - Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking - asked to show proof of ID before they are allowed to vote.

The government claims the change is needed to help tackle electoral fraud, but opponents say this is a minuscule problem in the UK and that the main impact of the checks will be to reduce turnout. 

Kristin Hugo3 May 2018 09:46

In total, more than 4,000 seats are being contested in around 150 councils in England, including all 32 London boroughs, as well as every ward in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.

Mayoral elections are taking place in Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Watford and the Sheffield City region, but there are no polls in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Kristin Hugo3 May 2018 10:02

Police are investigating false rumours about a council candidate in Brent, north London, having died. 

The claims that Carol Shaw, a veteran councillor, had passed away were dismissed by the borough's returning officer, who clarified: "It was alleged that Carol Shaw had passed away. It has since been confirmed to me that Carol is alive."

Police are investigating the reports, according to the Brent and Kilburn Times. It is an offence under the Representation of the People Act 1983 to make a false statement about a candidate. 

Kristin Hugo3 May 2018 10:25

David Davis has been answering questions in the Commons this morning following a week dominated by rows over the future customs arrangements with the EU.

The Brexit Secretary reiterated his commitment to avoid a hard border in Ireland after Brexit and said he was 100% sure Britain would leave the customs union after Brexit.

He told MPs: "Now, I've always said the best solution to solve the Northern Ireland, Ireland border is through the deep and special partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union, recognising the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.

"As the European Commission itself has acknowledged, solutions to the Northern Ireland border cannot be based on precedent."

Asked about the chances of leaving the customs union on exit day, Mr Davis responded: "Will 100% do? The issue of leaving the customs union plays directly to the issue of how we manage our future export and trade arrangements.

"At the moment almost 60% of our exports are now going to the rest of the world, this is not surprising because both the IMF and the European Commission itself has said that the vast majority of growth in world trade will come from outside the European Union.

"It is our explicit aim to make the most of that and that means we have to leave the customs union."

Lizzy Buchan3 May 2018 10:55

Shadow Brexit minister Paul Blomfield used the question session to accuse the Government of putting the interests of Tory Brexiteers before the UK.

He said: "They may be over-represented in his ministerial team, but supporters of the European Research Group constitute less than 10% of the membership of this House. Why is the Government putting their red lines before the interests of the country?"

Mr Davis responded: "He is basically putting, how can I put this in parliamentary language, a non-fact in front of the House.

"The case is very simple, the Government is deciding on the future customs arrangements on the basis of the best interests of the United Kingdom."

Lizzy Buchan3 May 2018 11:03

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer asked if the "customs partnership" model with the EU is off the table after Cabinet ministers hit deadlock on the plans this week.

Mr Davis replied: "The first advice I'd give to him is not to believe everything he reads in the papers, even about himself, let alone about me.

"Secondly, I mentioned earlier that the Government is spending some time, rightly, on making sure that we get absolutely the best outcome, which will preserve the United Kingdom without creating internal borders, and which will also deliver the best outcome in terms of both retaining the trade we have with the European Union and opening up opportunities to the rest of the world.

"That's why we're taking time to get this right."

Lizzy Buchan3 May 2018 11:05

Lizzy Buchan3 May 2018 11:08
Kristin Hugo3 May 2018 11:29

This is from our deputy political editor, Rob Merrick, following this morning's Downing Street media briefing:

No 10 has been defending the attendance of Julian Smith, the chief whip, at the sub-committee which is deciding – at least in theory – the UK’s preferred option for post-Brexit customs rules.

Mr Smith is not listed on the government’s website as attending, but turned up yesterday when – without his presence – Theresa May would have been outnumbered 6-5 on her preferred “customs partnership” option.

The prime minister’s spokesman said Mr Smith had attended several of its meetings “in his capacity as chief whip” as a “non-voting member”.

However, he then conceded the sub-committee had never taken a vote, but instead made decisions “by consensus” – leaving reporters unclear how his role was different in any way.

The spokesman would not say whether the sub-committee would meet again before next Tuesday’s full Cabinet meeting, which had been expected to finally settle on the preferred option.

Brexiteers are confident they have, after yesterday, killed off the “customs partnership” model, which they oppose as effectively keeping the UK in the EU customs union by the back door.

Kristin Hugo3 May 2018 11:55

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