Amidst all the coverage of the general election results, and the subsequent fallout in which the Liberal Democrats have begun talks with the Conservatives, Labour’s local election successes – and the collapse of several Lib-Con coalition councils – has been overlooked. With just six of 166 English councils yet to declare, Labour has gained control of 15 local authorities, including three from the Tories and one from the Liberal Democrats.
The Conservatives, meanwhile, lost control of 11 councils and gained control of four, with the Lib Dems losing four and gaining two. There is now no overall control in six fewer councils.
In what should come as a strong warning to Nick Clegg about the consequences of joining up with the Conservatives, in both Brent and Camden – London boroughs in which 100 per cent of seats were up for election – the ruling Lib/Con coalitions fell to Labour, the Lib Dems losing 10 councillors in each, the Tories 11 and Labour gaining 36.
“The Tory/Lib Dem Camden council is pursuing an aggressive policy of selling off council homes in the borough, allowing private property developers to make huge profits by ‘flipping’ or reselling them quickly onto the open market… whilst Brent is closing community centres and hiking charges.”
In terms of councillors overall, the most significant losses were incurred by the British National Party, losing 58 per cent of its 45 councillors – down to just 19. George Galloway’s Respect party also suffered badly, losing eight of its 12 councillors. Among the mainstream parties, Labour gained 414 councillors to 2,857, the Conservatives lost 121 to 3,364 and the Lib Dems lost 141 to 1,615.
• Download a spreadsheet of all the council changes here.