Coalition government hammered in local elections
Both the majority Conservatives and the minority partner Liberal Democrats in the governing coalition suffered major defeats in local elections yesterday.
Results are still coming in for councils across England and Wales whilst Scotland and London will count this afternoon.
In results declared so far, the Conservatives have lost around 280 seats whilst the Liberals have lost 112 seats, bringing them fewer seats than ever before. The opposition Labour Party have had a good result, taking 457 seats so far, winning control of 21 councils and comfortably retaining control of another 28 councils. On present predictions Labour look set to win up to 700 seats by the close of today.
The Conservatives also did badly in referendums for elected City mayors. Part of their flagship local government policy, the voters of Bradford, Coventry, Manchester and Nottingham rejected the idea of a directly elected Mayor.
The results so far suggest that the Conservatives are on 31% of the vote, that is down 9% on the same elections in 2008, whilst Labour are on 39%, up 17% on 2008. The Liberal Democrats have done better than the opinion polls were suggesting and are on 16%.
To put all of these numbers into context, the Conservatives started from a high number, having done well in the last two sets of local elections. Labour have done well but starting from a low base after poor results in the previous two sets of local elections whilst the Liberal Democrats continue to decline in local government.
Perhaps the most important figure of the night was turnout. Just 32% of the voters bothered to vote in these local elections; suggesting disenchantment with politicians in general.