Local elections – Friday open thread

English local election results will be pouring in throughout the day. Lib Dem Voice will try and keep you abreast of what’s happening across the country, as we did throughout Thursday night with our open thread – many thanks in particular to those commenting who were able to break the good news that the Lib Dems had taken majority control of Bristol City Council amid disastrous results for Labour. Please do keep the news coming in from wherever you live.

As at 9.50 am, the BBC results scoreboard is telling me that the Lib Dems are the only party showing net gains in both numbers of councillors and councils controlled (+1 in each category).

Let’s see what the rest of the day brings, especially in the south-west (Devon and Cornwall, which Lib Dems are defending) and in Somerset, where Lib Dems currently have minority control of the hung council.


Conservatives have taken control of Nottinghamshire.

Labour have come fourth behind the Monster Raving Loony Party in a ward in Huntingdonshire.

Lib Dem candidates have defeated the Conservative leader in Cumbria and the Labour leader in Nottinghamshire.

Lib Dems take Colchester Maypole from Labour.

Lib Dems take Wellesbourne, Studley and both seats in Stratford South from the Tories in Warwickshire. All in the Stratford on Avon district.

Hampshire: across our three Parliamentary seats of Eastleigh, Romsey and Winchester, we held all our marginal wards against the Conservatives, with many big increases in majorities.

Essex: three gains from the Tories now.

South West: Somerset and Devon look to be lost to the Conservatives. Awaiting further news from Cornwall.

Lancashire County Council: five gains have been declared in Burnley, though two losses elsewhere in county. Looks like Conservatives will take control.

One gain from the Tories in Watford.

BNP gain seat on Lancashire County Council.

Sky projects from local election results to a Tory landslide general election result, with number of Liberal Democrat seats creeping up.

Ashfield: election results in Geoff Hoon’s backyard looking very bad for Labour.

Somerset: Conservatives take control of the county council from the Liberal Democrats.

Guardian piece on fantastic victory in Bristol. Congratulations to everyone in the accompanying picture for managing to look mostly normal despite having mouths open and arms in air.

Labour lose control of Staffordshire. May end the day without having got control of any council up for election today.

Not only Labour facing wipe out in Burnley, also struggling to hold last seat in Westmorland.

News also starting to come in from up north with gains for Lib Dems in Burnley and Labour struggling to win any seat. May yet cling on to one seat.

Hampshire results looking good. Expect to hold all seats against Tories in Winchester. But Somerset isn’t good.

Nick Clegg’s reaction to the results so far: watch it via The Telegraph.

Hunt the Labour vote: seems to be a competition going amongst counting agents in some places to play “spot the ballot box with the worst Labour vote”. One in Hampshire is winning at the moment with only one Labour ballot paper.

Lib Dem vs Tories in southern England: looks to be a mixed picture. No big Tory tide sweeping all before it, but there will be some good individual results for them. However, Lib Dems also gaining from Tories in other places – such as East Surrey, Woking, Norfolk and Eastbourne, where we’re +1 against the Tories in each.

Hartlepool: independent Mayor Stuart Drummond (he of monkey mascot fame) has been re-elected, again.

Lincolnshire: very good results for the Conservatives with gain of 15 seats so far. Their vote also up, but only by half the Labour fall as other candidates put on the votes. Pointer for other results and Euros perhaps?

Polling day is over but the ads continue: lots of Conservative Google Ads urging people to vote Conservative in the European elections are still appearing on sites. Someone forgot to pull the plug or Google being slow to update?

Eric Pickles’ home patch: Lib Dems gain two seats from the Conservatives. Overall on Essex County Council it’s some Lib Dem gains, more Tory gains and lots of Labour losses.

Weirdest knocking up tale so far: Conservatives tried knocking up the Liberal Democrat committee room in the Vauxhall (London) by-election.

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This entry was posted in Conference, Europe / International, LDV Awards, News, Parliament and Party Presidency.


  • Weird knocking up story (c.2004)

    We had a notice in our committee room window saying “Please come to the back door”

    The Labour knocking-up team did exactly that – we invited them in – plied them with tea and cake.

    They gained sustenance from us.

    We gained the seat from them.

    Happy days!!!

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 10:49am

    Weird telling story – Bayswater ward, Westminster. We go to collect an elderly teller, a long standing party member, to take them to polling station, they say ‘but I just got back’. Confused but without cover for next hour we take her to the polling station in question where our departing teller explains that the lady had indeed been telling earlier, though for the Tories !

    ” I thought the rosette was a different colur to usual ” she explains.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 10:58am

    Lib Dems win 2 of 4 Essex County seats in Brentwood – good to see after some setbacks there in recent years. Tories take all 4 in Harlow, 3 gains from Labour.


  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 11:07am

    Looking good also in traditional Tory/Lib Dem swing seats in local elections such as Woking and Eastbourne. Very solid in Lewes.


  • Warren Swaine 5th Jun '09 - 11:11am

    LD Gain from Tories in Woodley Town by-election!

  • Caroline Spelman claiming Somerset has gone blue!

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 11:13am
  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 11:20am

    Tories have gained one so far from us in Somerset, in Taunton constituency. Our vote seems solid in Yeovil


  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 11:35am

    The loss in Taunton is one of the (5) rural wards. Most of the (7) town wards have not reported yet. We are also one down now in Yeovil, but with 7 holds there it is looking solid.

    Good Map here


  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 11:37am

    Interesting from trad blue Surrey – one hold, one loss and three gains so far – all to/from the Tories.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 11:39am

    in 11 County Divisions of North Norfolk we have won 7 vs 4 for the Tories. The vote split was:

    Liberal Democrat 7 seats 16094 votes (44.08%)

    Conservative 4 seats 14044 votes 38.46%)

  • David from W5 5th Jun '09 - 11:45am

    Somerset is now 13 Conservative, 9 LibDem. LibDem vote appears to be down in most places. 35 seats to come

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 11:47am

    One gain, 2 losses in Dorset so far.


  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 11:58am

    Hampshire – LD net down 2 so far:

    Down 2 and up 1 to/from Tory in East Hampshire
    Up 1 from Lab in Basingstoke
    Down 1 to Tory in Gosport
    Down 1 to Tory in Test Valley (Andover)

    Solid holds for LD in Eastleigh wards.

  • Not looking good in Devon. Tories winning in Teignbridge – perhaps Ricky Younger Ross might be regretting his furniture costs?

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 12:03pm

    Lib Dems win 6 out of 7 in Eastleigh, no seats changing hands but other story here is UKIP beating Labour in all 7 wards averaging c14% – suggests a very good vote for them in Euros. Labour averaging only c 6.5%.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 12:05pm

    Losses to the Tories in Hampshire – 2 in East Hants, 1 in Gosport, 1 in Test Valley but 1 gain from Lab in Basingstoke and 1 from Tory in East Hants. So net 2 down.

  • Bet the poorer performance in the South West is down to the European effect. What will the Euro-boosters say if we lose both Devon and Cornwall because of this?

  • @Robert C, we’ll say that sometimes we take losses from standing up for our principles. The alternative is worse.

  • Tories need just three to win majority in Somerset. Devon looks comfortably blue.

    Sign of things to come in the westcountry?

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 12:29pm

    Very sad about Devon. 7 holds and 4 losses so far, all to Con. They’ve gained another 3 off independents too. I see Labour have held an Exeter suburb against the Tories by 12 votes!

  • James Jones 5th Jun '09 - 12:34pm

    Are there any preliminary signs of what the national EU Parliament vote might look like?

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 12:42pm

    Guardian reporting that BNP have won first seat in Lancs (from Labour).

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 12:53pm

    The seats breakdown in Taunton is LD 6 Con 5 Lab 1. Strangely the Lib Dems did not contest the Labour held ward (Wellington). In the neighbouring ward Lab did not contest and we held by 9 votes…. On these results its only really David Heath in S & F under threat though even there its not a Troy wipeout

  • Four Lib Dem gains in Burnley


  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 1:06pm
  • rochdale cowboy 5th Jun '09 - 1:12pm

    No change in Rochdale

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 1:16pm

    1 up in Leics, gain from Labour in N W Leics

  • Dave Radcliffe 5th Jun '09 - 1:18pm

    Interesting on Today this morning they reported Netherlands exit polls.
    I wonder whether in Netherlands they’ve had news of British exit polls…?

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 1:21pm
  • Devon’s gone blue overall.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 1:23pm

    Tories on course to take Lancs: so far

    Tory 9 – up 6
    LD 5 – up 3
    BNP 1 – up 1
    Lab 2 – down 11

  • Peter Dunphy wrote:

    “Strangely the Lib Dems did not contest the Labour held ward (Wellington).”

    My little knowledge of Wellington tells me that it is an old railway town full of elderly voters who have been Labour loyalists all their lives. The Co-op has a big depot just outside the town. One of the managers there once told me that “we employ some really rough people”, if that has any bearing.

    Jeremy Browne is losing the Exmoor divisions that are so heavily Tory (and did for Jackie Ballard).

  • @Richard. The alternative is presenting things with a different slant but the same substance and actually getting hold of power.

    The Lib Dems always lose votes due to their stance on Europe and appear to have done the same this time round. We failed to prioritise the changes we would like in the form of sound-bites: “Sweep out corruption”, “Freeze the EU budget”, “Abolish the Strasbourg Circus” would all have been good ones, but no, we headed the campaign with anodyne statements about what a wonderful thing the EU is. We were out of tune with what the electorate wanted. The lack of a referendum promise (however flimsy Cameron’s is) on Lisbon will also have cost us votes. This makes us seem anti-democratic, which for a party called the “Liberal Democrats” is not something we can afford. Nor is it consistent with “standing up for our principles”.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 1:34pm

    Lib Dems have held 4 out of 7 in Winchester Borough, 2 Tory, 1 to declare.

    Results in Hants looking good for Westminster wins in Eastleigh and Winchester but tough in Romsey and Meon Valley.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 1:47pm

    Sesenco – thanks, i’ve never been to Wellington !

    My breakdown in wards excludes the Exmoor part, split between 2 wards.

  • Totnes Rural lost to the Greens?! Its a complete disaster in Devon. The South West could be very bad for us at the next GE.

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 1:58pm

    We’ve taken a seat off the Tories in Eastbourne borough, though the voteshare has gone down in the other wards.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 2:00pm

    Tories doing well in Kent, gained 4 from Lab so far. No seats but big vote increases for minor party candidates – take a look at the English Democrats in Dartford.


  • Labour wiped out in NW Leics – all 5 of their county seat have gone. BNP have gained Coalville and Lib Dems gained Warren Hills.

    BNP polling 16% across the county so far with half the results in. Lib Dems just ahead in 3rd place

  • Matthew Huntbach 5th Jun '09 - 2:03pm

    A close look at local elections in recent years shows there’s a strong anti-incumbency factor. The media like to give the impression that most people treat local elections as just a referendum on national politics, but that is them just showing their usual ignorance and laziness. It is less like that than it used to be – people are voting to quite a large extent on local factors.

    Unfortunately, this often means that whoever is struggling trying to run the place gets kicked out, the opposition who jeered at them and said they were rubbish gets in, then come the next local elections and the new administration has hit just the same problems as the previous one, and the cycle takes one more turn.

    I suspect that’s the story behind our loss of Devon and Somerset.

  • LD hold 1 gain 1 so far in Carlisle

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 2:10pm

    Labour getting a proper kicking in Essex. And we’ve taken two seats off the Tories there, WTF? Our gains in the south so far as I’ve seen are from the Tories, not Labour.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 2:16pm

    The town of Coalville Leics had 3 Labour County Councillors (Coalville, Warren Hills, Whitwick) they didn’t even get 2nd place in any of these wards.

  • Bit narked about the SW, especially the Newton Abbot seats as that is my former home turf. Held NA south but lost Kingsteignton…..! ๐Ÿ™

  • You can always tell when the Limp Dims are doing crap – they always trot out the same old line –

    “we’re holding our own”.

    We’ll see. From what I’ve been hearing, their actual share of the vote is DOWN – how can that be a good result?

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 2:23pm

    Has this fool actually read the thread?

  • Ollie- its local elections, its not crap overall- in many areas results are excellent. In the south west its bad however, and there everyone agrees we are getting a kicking. Where exactly has anyone used that line?

    Lib dem and green backed indie in a run-off with the English Democrats for mayor of Doncaster. Incredible, and with 20,000 votes from tories and BNP to transfer I have no idea how it will go.

  • Zummerset:
    Tories 35, LD 21, Lab 2.

  • Chris Keating 5th Jun '09 - 2:35pm

    That high turnout in Princes would be because every Labour activist in South London piled in there on polling day. Not something they’ll be able to repeat in the council elections next year.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 2:50pm

    Looks like Labour may be wiped out in Essex unless they pick up something late in Basildon. They had 5 MPs here in 1997, 4 in 2001 and 2 in 2005. Also no progress for BNP in Epping Forest where they won a number of district wards in recent years. Tory clean sweep in Harlow, Rochford, Maldon, Uttlesford, Braintree and Tendring. LDs have done well in Chelmsford with 5 out of 9. Colchester results just starting to come in.


  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 2:53pm

    Lib Dems already net 1 up in Essex with most of Colchester yet to declare. Labour started with 13 and may finish with none. Tories well up.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 2:56pm

    Lib Dems lose net 3 to Tories in Cambridgeshire

  • Of all the limp excuses I’ve heard so far was Chris Hoon saying the loss of Devon & Somerset was an “anti-incumbancy” vote. Lmfao.

    What utter bollocks.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 3:02pm

    LDs have lost 2 seat to Tories in Harrogate constituency

  • Held the Zummerset town wards,loss the county divisions. Devon looks like a serious thrashing – there were (like Cornwall) some serious missteps down there esp.in regards the Unitary authority etc etc.

    Conservative vote share down.Lmfao.

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 3:05pm

    God, Essex’s coverage is crap. They’ve just taken down last year’s councillors page without showing the gains/losses on their elections pages. Two LDs in Colchester returned, but I can’t find out whether they’re gains or not.

  • ollie – I think your last sentence just about sums up your two posts so far!

    Look at the history of Somerset and Devon. Somerset was NOC anyway, so although we were in minority control losing it isn’t a surprise (although the extent could be.) Devon has swung between Con, Lib Dem and NOC for several elections and it’s just taken a swing again (and Huhne is right, there definately will be an anti-incumbency vote there.) Next up must be Cornwall – fingers crossed.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 3:06pm

    First 2 wards in Lewes are in as LD holds

    P.S. ollie learn to spell

  • watching bbc news coverage.
    Chris Huhne looks like we have lost everything. someone tell him to cheer up!

    Mark Littlewood defending Lib dems well on break out interviews.

  • watching bbc news coverage.
    Chris Huhne looks like we have lost everything. someone tell him to cheer up!

    Mark Littlewood putting Lib dems case well on break out interviews.

  • Doesn’t Cornwall take ages to come in, because of the Scilly vote?

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 3:16pm

    Alix – yes Essex is one of the worst. I know we are making gains overall in Essex though as we only started with 8 !

    Its not as bad as Suffolk:


  • English Democrat gains Mayorality of Doncaster……eh?

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 3:19pm

    Labour taking a right old pasting from the Tories in Nottinghamshire


  • English Democrats win Doncaster mayorality. Incredible result from nowhere.

  • Kernow also will be late because of the change to Unitary status. Expect a rough set of results. There have been problems.

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 3:22pm

    Brace yourselves for Cornwall. First results none too promising:


  • Staffordshire County Council is big news & a right blow to Labour.

    Although the area is mainly rural, most inhabitants are working-class town dwellers who have tended to vote Labour. Overwhelmingly Labour MPs. A lot of the Potteries conurbation, which is culturally & economically part of Sjoke, is for administrative purposes outside the city & is on a council which now has a Tory majority.

    Derbyshire much the same, if anything even more working-class. Labour are done for if this happens nationwide.

  • Kernow (so far):
    Tories – 7
    LDs – 4
    Indies – 4
    MK – 1

  • South West is a disaster. But to be frank its not like there have been a lot of good news stories about good Lib Dem governance there lately have there?

  • Kernow:
    T9/ LD5/ Ind 6/ MK1…Cornwall. Quite interesting that Candy Atherton (whom Julia G. removed from the former Falmouth/ Camborne seat) failed to get elected for Labour in Carn Brea…

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 3:37pm

    Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire are Con holds.

  • The Rogerson family in at Bodmin Central ๐Ÿ™‚ !

    T11 / LD9/ i 7/ MK 1

  • Another Mark 5th Jun '09 - 3:47pm

    So much for Cameron’s argument that FPTP keeps out extremists. I’m sure the 70% of people in Padiham and Burnley West who didn’t vote BNP and now find themselves represented by the them are perfectly happy with the result. Not.

  • Leics looking a bit better for us now Harborough is coming in – Labour down 9 to just 4 councillors. Lib Dems up to second in vote share and councillors – now official opposition. Think we could lose a Market Harborough seat

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 3:53pm

    Tories stamp on Labour to take control from NOC in Warwickshire. We pick up a couple. Scores on the doors.

    Conservatives 39 (+11)
    Labour 10 (-12)
    LD 12 (+2)
    Ind/Oth 1 (-1)

  • Tories doing well in Cornwall.
    16/LD’s13/I 10/MK 1.

    Heading for NOC.

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 4:00pm

    Final grim results from Devon

    Con 41 (+18)
    Labour 4 (n/c)
    Lib Dem 14 (-19)
    Ind 2 (n/c)
    Green 1 (+1)

  • ED victory in Doncaster is one step away from having a BNP mayor…. his platform:

    “Mr Davies has pledged to reduce council tax over a four year period, starting in 2010, by cutting bureaucracy, ditching the council’s newspaper Doncaster News, stopping all translation services for immigrants, reducing the number of councillors from 63 to 21,axing all the authority’s politically correct jobs and scrapping huge pay offers to senior managers.

    He would reduce the mayor’s salary to a maximum of ยฃ30,000 and hold a referendum on the mayoral governance of Doncaster.”

  • Damn! Steve Rogerson beaten in Bodmin East! ๐Ÿ™

  • I suspect a few west country Lib Dem MPs are regretting their expenses spending decisions (and polishing their CVs)…

  • 24/19/10/1 in Cornwall at the mo. Not as bad as I anticipated tbh but not good either. Pleased to see an Ex Uni mate elected for Lanson North.

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 4:34pm

    Essex just in

    Tory 60 up 8
    Lib Dem 12 up 4
    Lab 1 down 12
    Ind 2 down 2

  • Tories 9 ahead in Kernow.

  • Cumbria will be interesting, but results are trickling out very slowly http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/election2009/Results/map.asp

  • Peter Dunphy 5th Jun '09 - 4:59pm

    We should be up in Leics as we have matched 2005 performance with 3 LD wards yet to declare

  • Crap turnout en Kernow…low 20’s. 39/22/20/2…at present. 34%/28% vote share.

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 5:31pm

    Surrey all in. Bleurgh. Was looking like we might be making a bit of an inroad there for a while.

    Con 56 (-3)
    Lib Dem 13 (+1)
    Res Assoc 9 (+2)
    Labour 1 (-1)
    Ind 1 (+1)

  • Thank the maker that Restormel is yet to declare in Kernow. There have been a few losses in the Borough, but there should be some decent holds.

  • Ian Roebuck 5th Jun '09 - 5:46pm

    Labour lost all their four seats on Dorset CC, all in Weymouth & Portland, three to Tory one to Lib Dem. We also (re)gained with a 20% majority the marginal Weymouth Town ward where incumbent had crossed the floor to join the Tories and stood under his new colours, and held the ultra-marginal Lodmoor where ex-MP Ian Bruce stood as Tory candidate.

    For first time ever we outpolled the Tories across the whole of Weymouth, and turnouts were pretty decent overall.

    Total wipeout for Labour, behind us in every seat but one, which was where the current mayor and defending CCllr was 40 ahead of us.

    So far know of one gain and two losses elsewhere in Dorset.

  • Independants move ahead en Kernow. Not unexpected…

  • Current score:

    Conservative 41 34%
    Liberal Democrat 28 28%
    Independent 26 23%
    Mebyon Kernow 2 4%

    Slightly slow as MK have won a 3rd seat, and Restormel is in and there have been losses to the Tories there (St. Dennis). However the City of Truro (my home in spirit) seems to be coming through.

  • I just cannot believe the electorate in Teignbridge. LD has been the best ever for us here compared to Torbay under the Tories..I understand peoples anger at the sleaze that has gone on but they have so cut of their noses to spite their faces. If Torbay is anything to go by we are so going to pay for this mistake.A very sad day for Teignbridge

  • And whoever is “speaking” for the Liberal D’s on BBC Radio Cornwall needs to be taken out and spanked soundly. Good job the election has finished…otherwise there could have been another 10k votes lost…

  • Final result in Cornwall:
    Conservatives 50
    Liberal D..38
    Indies 32
    MK 3

    Council to NOC. Labour fail to win a single seat. Some weird results, and hopefully Steve R. can return next time.

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 6:54pm

    Essex final score

    Con 60 (+10)
    LD 12 (+4)
    Lab 1 (-12)
    Ind 2 (n/c)
    Others 0 (-2)

    Labour nearly wiped out altogether. Wasn’t a straight wipe-out though. At least three of our gains were from the Tories. They in turn gained off Labour. Weird. Strange also to see “Others” decreasing here.

  • Not a good result in Oxfordshire. 4 wards lost to Tories – these wards cover most of Evan Harris’ seat. Also 1 ward lost TO LABOUR(!!) in Oxford City. ouch. Labour have done pretty well in Oxford City actually, picking up 5 seats. Of course FPTP has magnified small changes in vote share, and the Greens have done fairly well too which might have not helped.

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 6:56pm

    Labour getting another trouncing in Northamptonshire. Looks like we’ll pick up one or two.

  • Ian Roebuck 5th Jun '09 - 7:02pm

    Dorset Egdon Heath LD gain from Tory by four votes after 3 recounts. majority successively 2,3,3,4. The RO, under pressure from incumbent Tory and agent, didn’t declare it after two successive identical counts but as majority increased on 4th count said enough is enough.

  • As I feared, Market Harborough West and Foxton is a Con Gain from Lib Dem – by 8 votes. Lib Dems still heading for net gains in Leics.

    One welcome gain in Northants is in Corby – our first seat there for many moons.

  • Alix Mortimer 5th Jun '09 - 7:38pm

    Final from Leicestershire. Not bad (apart from the BNP seat).

    Con 36 (+5)
    LD 14 (+3)
    Lab 4 (-9)
    BNP 1 (+1)

  • Final Leics result was Market Harborough East. Lib Dems held off the Tories by 27 votes. A relief given the result in MH West & Foxton

  • Have we ever been in control of Leicestershire or even come close???

  • I think Matthew is partly right when he points to incumbency as a factor explaining the poor performances in the South-West. What he needs to tell us, and doesn’t, is why some Lib Dem councils survive election after election (eg, Sutton, Stockport, Lewes, Eastleigh), while others yo-yo (Devon and Somerset). Perhaps it has something to do with the ability of Lib Dems locally to defend their administrations. How many of those defeated Devon councillors put out regular Focuses, one wonders? How much time did they spend in County Hall rather than among their voters? Lib Dems did much better in areas with a long history of professional campaigning (eg, Watford, Eastleigh, Winchester, Eastbourne). The laid back and laccadaisical lost out badly.

    The Labour wipe-out wasn’t as comprehensive as it first appears. They held on in Exeter and Hastings, and still have a county councillor in Colchester with quite a hefty majority. Labour isn’t finished yet. Once they stop committing hara kiri in public, and the economy begins to mend, they will be back.

    BTW, what has happened to all the trolls demanding the lynching of Lord Rennard? Have they, perhaps, been busy getting the vote out for David Cameron these past few days? If I were Nick Clegg, I would send Lord Rennard on a special mission to Devon.

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Jun '09 - 11:40pm


    You ask why do some LibDem councils go on and on, and others are lost.

    You are right that there are local organisational factors, and this just proves my point – however much the national media may insist it’s all just a referendum on national politics, it just ain’t so.

    I don’t know enough about what happens in Devon and Somerset to say for sure. I know a little about what happened in Adur, which for years and years was a successful Liberal then Liberal Democrat District Council (it’s the bit between Worthing and Brighton in Sussex), and then it suddenly all imploded. It was all down to silly local personal factors really.

    It may just be that places like Lewes are more naturally liberal, while in the south-west they are less ideologically liberal and the party’s strength there is more a historical thing, which is losing out as the party is establishing a stronger ideological identity. Just a guess, that, weak campaigning and resting on laurels is likely also to be a big factor.

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Jun '09 - 12:32am

    Just looked closer at the East Sussex results, Lewes itself (the town which forms part of the district/constituency) is represented by an Independent who won with a massive majority – history seems to be she was a LibDem once, flirted with the Greens, but is now firmly Independent.

    Polegate Willingdon and East Dean is a two-member division, represented by two Independents who also had large majorities, are ex-LibDems, and are both member of a Chinese family called Shing.

    Labour has done bizarrely well in Hastings.

    Over in West Sussex, the complete disappearance of the LibDems in their once stronghold of Adur shows what I said. But the LibDems do have the majority of seats in Worthing.

    There are local factors in all of these. The nmational media’s inability to capture these and to suppose instead it’s all down to national swing is just pure laziness and ignorance. Why can’t they print some interesting and useful news such as the stories behind all this?

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