Local elections: Theresa May not 'an electoral failure', says pollster

Local elections: Theresa May not "an electoral failure", says pollster

Windrush and Brexit may not have completely damaged her reputation, says pollster

Friday, May 4, 2018

The local elections looked from the outside like a straightforward victory for the Conservatives.

At the time of writing, they’d gained three councils to Labour’s one, but Labour had managed to hold on to many of their key seats, and won Plymouth.

Labour’s sights had been set on Conservative “crown jewel” locations, Wandsworth and Westminster, but failed to win them.

Michael Turner, head of polling at BMG Reseach, told Julia Hartley-Brewer that this could cast doubt on Jeremy Corbyn’s power as a leader – but Theresa May should be tentative in her celebration.

After the Windrush scandal and Amber Rudd’s resignation, and the reported lack of confidence from MPs in Theresa May’s Brexit plans, the Conservative government has been coming under increasing scrutiny.

“In the short term it’s good news for her to some degree because she’s not seen as a complete and utter electoral failure,” he said.

He also speculated that Labour may reassess their strategy.

“The first thing we’ve learned is we need to manage expectations a bit better in the Labour party.

“They’ve thrived on defeating the public’s expectations in the 2017 general election.

“They threw everything into London this year and other areas, and that hasn’t necessarily come out top trumps," he said.

“The problem may be that some of the shine will be taken off Jeremy Corbyn as a leader.

“Labour strategists may be thinking how they can increase their vote share in leave-voting areas.

“It might mean Corbyn is not seen as much as an election winner, whereas the perception was that he was a winner in 2017.”

Corbyn remained positive, delivering his winner’s speech in Plymouth.

“The Southwest has the unenviable title of being the low-paid capital of Britain,” he said.

“That’s got to change. Labour is back in this part of Britain. The mission of Labour is always to stand up for a decent society and stand up against poverty.

“That means local government must be properly funded by central government, and local councils that want to deal with the housing crisis, the social care crisis, that want a cleaner and better environment, they’re the ones they should be supporting.

“I’m delighted Labour has won in Plymouth, I’m delighted at the manifesto they put forward.”

Election results are still being announced.