Support for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has collapsed in the local elections, losing 91 seats so far, including every single one they won at their high point in 2014 under Nigel Farage.
Labour failed to gain much traction, including to gain seats in London that Mayor Sadiq Khan and others had promised to win, and suffered losses outside the capital. This prompted claims that “peak Corbyn” has passed and recent anti-Semitism scandals could have had an impact at the ballot box.
The Liberal Democrats were the biggest winners of the night, winning Remain-voting Richmond in London from the Tories and making gains in cities like Sheffield, Liverpool, and Hull.
Our key wards info suggests at this point – in London, swing is 1.5% Tory to Labour, outside London, swing is 1% Labour to Tory
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) May 4, 2018
The Tories had a better night than expected, particularly in the capital, winning control of Barnet in north London and retaining control of Kensington and Chelsea Council, the site of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Back in 2016, London Mayor Sadiq Khan had claimed there was “no corner” of London where Labour could not win, saying they could take the Tories’ “crown jewels” in the city, which they failed to do.
Speaking at the Wandsworth count Thursday night, he was more modest telling the Press Association: “What I’d be disappointed by was if we didn’t make progress across London in terms of the numbers of councillors. The results four years ago were the best since 1971 and that’s the context.”
Outside London, the Conservatives made gains in places like Dudley, with their support rising in most areas that voted for Brexit, suggesting they were benefitting from UKIP’s demise.
tomorrow's headlines may be about London boroughs: don't forget underlying reality that yesterday Tories had 9,233 councillors and Labour just 6,439 – gap of 2,799.
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) May 3, 2018
However, Labour also had some isolated success stories beyond London, winning Plymouth and become the largest party in Trafford, formerly the Conservative’s only council in Greater Manchester.
But they lost overall control of Derby and Nuneaton and Bedworth in the Midlands.
Across England, more than 4,000 seats were contested in around 150 councils. This included all 32 London boroughs and every ward in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, and Newcastle.
In 2014, UKIP took 17 per cent of the vote and picked up 166 councillors as leader Nigel Farage stepped up pressure for a European Union (EU) referendum. This time there is talk of the party’s collapse.
UKIP’s only success was in Derby Alvaston, where they actually increased their majority and unseated the Labour leader of the council. This is despite two visits to the area from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during the campaign.
— Peter Bearne (@pbearneITV) May 4, 2018