Local elections: Conservatives hold seats, Labour anti-Semitism concerns, Ukip 'crumbles'

Local elections: Conservatives hold seats, Labour anti-Semitism concerns, Ukip 'crumbles'

Local elections saw mixed results for Labour and the Conservatives, with the latter holding seats in London but losing a key seat in the North

Friday, May 4, 2018

The local elections saw Labour and the Conservatives battle over key seats, with the latter holding seats in battleground locations.

In a night of mixed fortunes for the two major parties, Labour took Plymouth from the Conservatives but was unable to seize Tory 'crown jewel' authorities in London, where it had hoped to make gains.

Hillingdon remained in Conservative hands and Mr Corbyn's party fell well short of the upsets some had predicted in Tory strongholds Wandsworth, Westminster and Kensington.

And Labour failed in its bid to take control of top target Barnet, which was gained by Tories from no overall control.

There were indications that the row over anti-Semitism may have hit its vote in an area of north London with a large Jewish community.

Former Labour councillor Adam Langleben, who lost his seat in West Hendon, tweeted: "We must never have another election like this. No community group should have their vote dictated by their safety. That should shame us."

The Conservatives gained control of councils in Peterborough, Southend and Basildon, and saw a small swing in their favour outside the capital. But they lost Trafford, their flagship council in the North West, to no overall control.

Party chairman Brandon Lewis told Sky News: "It's been a good night for us. We've done better than expected and we have seen Labour - who thought they would be sweeping the board in London - thus far not gaining a single council in London.

"Eight years into a government, Labour was losing 4,000 councillors, whereas we at the moment are holding councils and in some areas making positive inroads."

Theresa May's party appeared to have benefited from an almost total collapse in the Ukip vote, which saw the Eurosceptic party shed councillors across the country.

The one point of light for Ukip was Derby, where the party held one seat and picked up another, unseating Labour's leader in the city. Former deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans openly discussed the prospect of the party "crumbling".