Labour and Conservatives breathe a collective sigh of relief over local election poll results.
Both parties will, naturally, claim overall victory for these elections, but the bigger picture is less clear than the politicians would have us believe – with the two main parties making gains and losses on the ground.
The Conservatives had feared losing support in London over the Grenfell disaster and the introduction of new voter registration initiatives in several constituencies – but in the end, lost only twenty-seven seats countrywide. One of the losses, however, was the highly significant Plymouth Sutton and Devonport seat. Conservative MP, Johnny Mercer, blamed the loss on the government defence cuts.
Labour, on the other hand, whilst defending 2,200 seats have, so far, gained sixty-one overall – but didn’t make the gains they had been hoping for in London. They also lost two seats to the Green Party in Sheffield over the disastrous tree-felling programme, which had been strongly opposed by local residents.
Overall, the local elections maintained the status quo, with gains and losses on both sides.
The biggest story of the elections has been the complete collapse of the UKIP vote. The party has lost ninety-two seats as this article goes to press. The winners from this disintegration are the Conservative Party, as the protest vote has petered out and the angry electorate have returned to their natural home.