Local election results have been pouring in throughout the day, but the Tories’ fears of sweeping losses already appear to have materialised.
A total of 230 of the 317 councils in England had seats up for grabs – 8,058 in total. Polls closed at 10pm on Thursday night, and with a number of wards counting votes overnight, some 210 local authorities have now posted results.
The Conservatives are confirmed to have lost 938 seats, while Labour have gained 482 and the Liberal Democrats 354, as of 7pm Friday evening, with almost all councils reporting.
The Lib Dems have triumphed, notably seizing control of traditionally Tory-siding Windsor and Maidenhead on the eve of the Coronation, as well as Stratford-on-Avon. Labour, meanwhile, took Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Medway, as well as East Staffordshire for the first time in decades. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged a “disappointing” showing for his party as they lost their majorities in Tamworth, Brentwood, Hertsmere and elsewhere.
The last election results are expected to come in later this evening, but you can use Express.co.uk’s live tracker below to keep an eye on the evolving national picture in the meantime.
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Veteran pollster Sir John Curtice warned the Conservatives faced losses of up to 1,000 seats early Friday morning. His prediction appeared to be spot on by the time most of the counting wrapped up.
This is the first concrete test of the Prime Minister’s popularity since he assumed the Tory leadership last October, and many will be projecting the day’s outcome forward onto next year’s general election.
Speaking outside Conservative HQ as the first results came in, Mr Sunak claimed he was not “detecting any massive groundswell of movement towards the Labour Party or excitement for their agenda.”
At the same time, Sir Keir Starmer, was hailing an “amazing amazing set of results” for his party. By the afternoon, as council after council flipped into Labour hands, he said his party was “on path to majority”.
The Conservatives have held the lion’s share of council seats in England for the past 20 years. In the round of local elections in May last year – where all London boroughs were last up for grabs – they took home 37 percent of all seats, down just two percent on 2021.
In 2022, Labour won 31 percent and the Lib Dems 14 percent, but pollsters believe their final tallies will be far higher in 2023.
Local authorities are responsible for many of the key services citizens interact with every day, from waste collection to schools, planning and social care. They are made up of councillors elected on four-year terms to single or multi-member wards using the first-past-the-post electoral system (FPTP), just like MPs in a general election.
On Thursday all seats were contested in nine metropolitan boroughs, including Liverpool and Wolverhampton, 32 unitary authorities, including cities such as Nottingham, Derby and York and 105 district councils across England. Mayoral elections also went ahead in Bedford, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesbrough.
No voting took place in Scotland or Wales this year, but elections are planned on May 18 for all 462 seats across Northern Ireland’s 11 local authorities.