Britain’s Labour Party has failed to take the key council of Swindon from the Conservatives, despite the Tories previously controlling the council with just a one-seat majority.
Swindon is a key battleground between Labour and the Conservatives, with Labour holding both of the town’s parliamentary constituencies until the last General Election. If they hope to win a majority at the next election, they will want to take both of the seats back, but judging by tonight’s results they may fail to do that.
Such is the importance of Swindon to the Labour campaign that party leader Ed Miliband visited the town in the final days of the campaign. He famously made a series of gaffes during a local radio interview while in the town, however, failing to remember who leads his party’s group on the local council, or whether they controlled the council or were in opposition.
Labour had been slowly chipping away at the Conservative representation on the council over successive elections, eventually reducing its majority to just one seat last year, so they had been expecting to take control of the council this time round. The fact they have failed to do so is a huge blow for Miliband and his party.
For the Conservatives, this is a highly encouraging result. Not only have they kept control of the council, they have increased their majority to three seats, with Labour losing ground. This puts them in good stead to hold the two parliamentary seats next year.