Bins over Brexit: Local Elections Round-up
Edward Butler-Ellis, Associate Director at TFA, gives a round up of the results of last week's local elections.

Tuesday, 8th May 2018
Unlike the scorching Bank Holiday weather, there were no records broken during last week's local elections, so what better, than to beat those Tuesday morning post-Bank Holiday blues, than a quick round-up of last week (don't forget to read the attached list - you'll have a busy diary if you want to get to all those first meetings).
With 150 English councils up and an average turnout of 36%, none of the parties could declare on overall victory; both Labour and Conservatives gaining and losing control of councils, the Liberal Democrats gaining control of four councils, and UKIP suffering a political Black Death.
The Prime Minister was breathing a sigh of relief on Friday morning, after having avoided another fields of wheat moment and a potential leadership challenge. She appeared chirpier on the steps of Wandsworth Town Hall on Friday morning, in what was predicted to be a landslide result for Labour in London’s marginal boroughs.
Maggie’s favourite borough was tipped to fall from Conservative grace, but Labour lost momentum and failed to take enough seats. An interesting turn of events for independent candidate, Malcolm Grimston, a bridge-playing Nuclear policy wonk, who secured 4,000 votes in a leafy Putney suburb, whilst under heavy fire from both Labour and Conservatives.
The Liberal Democrat’s Knight-in-shining armour, Sir Vince Cable, was flying the star-studded Winning Here flag as the call-to-arms, leading them to victory in Three Rivers, South Cambridgeshire, Kingston and Richmond (taking 24 seats), and managing to defend Sutton, despite an assault by the Conservatives and stealing nine seats.
Anti-development candidates succeeded in a number of local authorities. In the Liberal Democrat stronghold of Eastleigh, where the party now hold 32 of the 39 seats, they lost Bishopstoke to an independent because the council is targeting land near Bishopstoke and Fair Oak for 5,000 houses. Conversely, in Welwyn Hatfield the Liberal Democrats took Panshanger where the Conservative-controlled council wants to build on Green Belt land. 
The Liberal Democrats made three gains in Welwyn and Hatfield and the Conservatives saw their majority cut from six to two. In West Oxfordshire the Liberal Democrats took three seats from Conservatives, including Eynsham, where the heavily Conservative-controlled council want to build a garden village.
The Conservatives managed to keep their hair on in Barnet, taking control of the council after four years of no-overall control, whilst gains were made in Hillingdon (even in John McDonnell’s constituency), despite this being a potential Labour gain. The Royal Borough (that’s Kensington & Chelsea to the likes of you and me) remained in Conservative control, despite the tragic Grenfell disaster and the subsequent political discourse, as was Westminster City, both thought to suffer the mercy of Labour.
Jeremy Corbyn had reason to be pleased, as they took Plymouth, and made gains in Trafford where Labour become the largest group, seeing the council move to no-overall control. However, his six visits to Swindon over the past five months failed to inspire the people.
The concrete cows of Milton Keynes have yet to be herded by a single party, along with other authorities where there is no-overall control, such as Derby, and Nuneaton & Bedworth.
A full round-up of local authority results and dates for those all-important Annual Meetings is attached (click on the Council’s name for council composition). For an in-depth review of any of the council election results and how this may affect sites of interest, please get in touch.


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