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Labour Surges as Tories Stumble: Analyzing the Local Election Shockwaves and Implications for the Next General Election

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Election Night Update: Key Outcomes and Implications for the Upcoming National Election

Following an active evening of tallying votes, here are the essential details on the current positions of the primary political parties. Initial counts show a favorable performance by Labour and a challenging evening for the Conservatives.

Friday, May 3, 2024, 10:

The Conservative Party is headed towards its poorest performance in local elections in history, as the vote tallying progresses.

Labour demonstrated significant strength in recent elections, capturing a number of councils that previously voted to leave and triumphing in the Blackpool South by-election.

The prospects appear dimmer for the Conservatives, as they have been relegated to third position by Reform UK in certain regions.

As the tally progresses, here's an update on the current positions of the leading political parties.

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"Labour is advancing," reports Tamara Cohen, the political correspondent for Sky News.

The Labour Party emerged victorious in the Blackpool South by-election, with Labour's Chris Webb set to replace former Conservative MP Scott Benton as the representative for the area.

Although the outcome was widely anticipated, Sir Keir Starmer celebrated Labour's 58.9% share of the vote as a "seismic" triumph, declaring it the "most significant" outcome of Thursday's elections.

Sky News' leading political reporter Jon Craig agreed with the evaluation, stating: "Indeed, this was a legislative election, distinct from local council elections focused on streets and infrastructure, and it delivered a severe judgment on Rishi Sunak and his administration."

The Labour Party successfully captured Rushmoor in Hampshire from the Conservative Party, marking their first victory there, and also took control of Redditch from the Tories.

Labour suffered a setback as it failed to maintain control of Oldham, resulting in no party having overall control.

Labour has successfully taken control of Hartlepool and Thurrock, which were previously under no overall control.

Labour retained control of Sunderland Council and maintained their leadership in South Tyneside, Chorley, and Newcastle.

The party overtook the Tories to become the majority party in Peterborough Council, which continued to have no single party in control. The Conservatives relinquished 13 out of the 16 seats they held in the recent elections.

The Labour Party secured eight additional seats in the Adur council located in West Sussex, gaining a majority for the first time. Meanwhile, the Conservatives lost seven seats and their control of the council.

The Labour Party experienced setbacks in key constituencies with significant Muslim communities, including Newcastle. Observers attribute these losses to the party's stance on the Gaza conflict.

The party successfully maintained control in Blackburn with Darwen, even as independent candidates gained traction due to local Muslim voters' dissatisfaction with the party’s position on Gaza.

Labour maintained control of Rochdale in the face of a challenge from George Galloway. Of the 15 seats it was defending, Labour only lost one, which was claimed by Mr. Galloway’s Workers Party. The party also secured another seat that was formerly held by an independent councillor.

In Manchester, Luthfur Rahman, the Labour Party's deputy leader on the city council, was defeated in his re-election bid by Shahbaz Sarwar, a candidate from the Workers Party.

Kim McGuinness of the Labour Party has been elected as the first-ever mayor of the North East region.

In a historic win, Claire Ward of the Labour Party was elected as the Mayor of East Midlands, surpassing her Conservative rival Ben Bradley by over 50,000 votes.

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The political group secured a victory in the mayoral contest for York and North Yorkshire, a region that includes Rishi Sunak's Richmond constituency.

Right-leaning Individuals

The latest outcomes indicate the Conservatives are "facing significant challenges," potentially marking "one of the worst performances in the party's history," Sky News' election expert Professor Michael Thrasher observed.

In regions that supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum, the Conservative party saw its most significant decline in votes compared to the year 2021.

In the Tees Valley mayoral election, the current Conservative mayor, Lord Ben Houchen, successfully secured his position with 53.8% of the total votes cast.

Labour had set its sights on securing the seat, viewing a win as a significant triumph for the party and an indicator of advancement.

The Conservative Party narrowly maintained their hold on Harlow in Essex, securing victory by just one seat, despite forecasts that the area would shift to Labour.

Sir Keir Starmer made several trips to the constituency, underscoring its significance. The Tories claimed the outcome indicated a lack of affection for the Labour leader.

In other parts of Essex, the Conservative Party faced significant losses, dropping 13 council seats in Basildon. In Castle Point, the situation was even more severe, as they lost all the seats they contested.

The party managed to retain its position in Fareham, Hampshire.

The Labour Party gained five seats in North East Lincolnshire, leading to the Conservatives losing their majority on the council, which now has no party in overall control.

The Conservative Party has suffered a loss of 11 seats in Cannock Chase, while the Labour Party has gained an equivalent number, resulting in Labour taking control of the council.

Enter your council name or postcode to discover the results for your area.

In the final election outcome announced on Friday evening, the Conservative Party relinquished its hold on Gloucester, forfeiting 10 seats. Meanwhile, the Labour Party picked up five seats, the Liberal Democrats secured three, and independent candidates claimed two.

UK Reform

Reform UK is achieving strong results, consistently securing an average vote share of 14% to 15%.

The group has relegated the Conservatives to third position in several regions, such as Sunderland.

The party is not contesting every constituency, focusing instead on Leave-supporting areas where its predecessors, the Brexit Party and UKIP, had strong showings. To date, it has not secured any parliamentary seats or council positions.

"Analyzing shifts in voting percentages reveals genuine backing for Reform, which could significantly impact the Conservatives in the upcoming general election," Prof Thrasher noted.

Liberal Democrats

Even with a slight reduction in their number of seats, the Liberal Democrats maintained their leadership of the Gosport council

They maintained their hold in Winchester, Eastleigh, and Fareham as well.

The Liberal Democrats seized majority control in Tunbridge Wells, a significant shift as the Conservatives forfeited four seats in what was once a bastion for them. This change resulted in Sir Ed Davey's party securing 22 out of the 39

Following their acquisition of an additional 15 seats, the Liberal Democrats successfully wrested control of Dorset from the Conservatives.

Leafy Greens

The Green Party has increased its number of councillors by 13, significantly boosting its representation in the councils that have completed their counts.

The party managed to secure several seats previously held by Labour in Newcastle, though Labour maintained its majority.

The Green Party came close to securing full control in Bristol, a key focus for them, but despite an increase of 10 seats, they didn't quite make it.

The party currently holds 34 out of the 70 available seats.

Unaffiliated Individuals

Castle Point in Essex is now entirely represented by independent councillors, with a total of 39 members.

Previously, independents were in charge, and currently, there are no longer any Conservative councillors.

Elections for police and crime commissioners

Overall, elections are taking place for 37 police and crime commissioners throughout England and Wales. However, in South Yorkshire and York & North Yorkshire, two of these commissioner positions are being integrated into the duties of a mayor.

The initial outcomes were reported after midnight, and additional results are anticipated starting midday Friday, with the final outcomes scheduled to be announced by 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Labour has successfully secured nine Police and Crime Commissioner positions previously held by the Conservatives, including in Avon & Somerset, Bedfordshire, Cleveland, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, and Nottinghamshire.

What is the significance of a general election?

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The situation is "complex," says Sky News elections expert Professor Michael Thrasher.

The support for the Conservative Party has drastically diminished since 2021, while the Labour Party has seen significant increases in backing.

Since 2023, there has been little fluctuation in voting patterns, with a slight increase in support for the Labour Party.

Professor Thrasher entirely dismissed the Conservative claim that the outcomes are typical for a party at midterm.

"This presents a significant challenge for the Conservative Party, as their success in the 2019 general election was largely dependent on gaining the backing of voters who were fervent supporters of Brexit during the EU referendum," he stated.

Recent voting results indicate that in regions which predominantly supported Brexit, there has been a nearly 18 percentage point drop in support for the Conservative Party.

This indicates that the support for Brexit is shifting away from the Conservative Party, with some voters moving to the Labour Party and others to Reform UK.

According to Sky News projections derived from local election results, the Labour Party is expected to be the dominant force in the next parliament, yet it is predicted to miss obtaining a majority in the House of Commons by 32 seats.

Professor Thrasher stated: "Should the Conservatives' performance drop to the levels suggested by these local elections, we may be facing a scenario reminiscent of 1997, when the Conservative vote plummeted to near obliteration."

"If the Conservative Party's support drops to below around 30% in the upcoming general election, they could face a similar outcome."

When will additional results be available?

The results for the mayoral elections are anticipated to be released by Friday, with London's results scheduled for announcement on Saturday. Follow the updates here.

Labour's Sadiq Khan is aiming for an unprecedented third term as London's mayor, contending with Conservative candidate Susan Hall, while 25 seats in the London Assembly are also available for election.

Additional local authorities are expected to begin announcing results around midday Friday, following the resumption of vote counting earlier in the day.

Most council election outcomes should be available by Friday evening.

Salford is set to be the last council to announce its decision on Sunday afternoon.

Stay tuned for our continuous updates on the election outcomes over the weekend. Access comprehensive information here.

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