With many results now in from local and mayoral elections in Wales, Scotland and parts of England, an election with a total of 4,851 council seats up for grabs in 88 councils, results looked grim for Labour, with the party losing five councils in England and Wales, such as Lincolnshire and Monmouthshir, to the Conservatives.
Labour, which has lost control of Glasgow as well as Bridgend and Blaenau Gwent, said it was “disappointing” five weeks before the general election.
So far, 27 councils in England and Wales have announced their final results.
Labour has blamed “unique circumstances” for an election that it expected would be “challenging” for the party. The polls held across England, Scotland and Wales come just five weeks before the UK’s snap-election on the 8th of June.
Jeremy Corbyn’s team conceded that Labour could be set to lose hundreds of council seats, especially in Scotland and Wales.
When the council seats were last contested, during Ed Miliband’s leadership of Labour, there was a strong performance for the party. “These elections are a challenging set of contests held in unique circumstances,” a spokesperson of Labour claimed. “They’re individual contests being fought in very differing situations, from local council-level issue-driven campaigns up to large mayoral fights with some well-known politicians”
“Nonetheless, Labour has been making the case up and down the country that Labour representatives, both locally and nationally, will stand up for the many whilst the Conservative party stands up only for the few. That’s what we’ll be doing all the way through to 8 June and we are confident that will start to resonate as we get closer to that date.”
John Turner, chief executive of the Association of Electoral Administrators, told the Local Government Chronicle that turnout generally had been “slow but steady,”
Shadow Welsh secretary, Christina Rees, thanked Welsh Labour candidates and stressed that this would be difficult for Labour: “It always inspires me that even when times seem tough for Labour, they never fail to rise to the challenge with a passion and energy that no other party can match.”
The Lib Dems had 195 seats, a net loss of 24. UKIP had failed to win any seats, a net loss of 64, while the Greens had picked up 15, a net gain of seven.
Despite its gains, the Conservatives have attempted to downplay their significance as a guide to the outcome of the general election on 8 June.