Local Elections: Overnight results roundup (Updated)

Election countThere’s a long way to go, but so far it’s been a mixed night for the Liberal Democrats. Here are the headlines:

UKIP wipeout in Eastleigh

We were told that UKIP were going to make gains in Eastleigh and it was one of the results that worried me the most. In fact, we held our own and UKIP’s tactic of putting up a Mr House against leader Keith House didn’t pay off at all.

Lib Dems lose control of Portsmouth

With a loss of 6 seats, the Liberal Democrats remain the largest party on Portsmouth Council but have lost overall control. The Portsmouth News site quotes Council leader Gerald Vernon Jackson as saying:

It has been really difficult for all of us,

Ukip has done really, really well across the city and we will have Ukip councillors for the first time.

Ukip won more seats in Portsmouth than any other party, and the Lib Dems lost the most.

Two of the casualties were Mike Hancock, who was standing as an Independent and his wife, who both lost to UKIP.

Gains in Sutton, loss of control in Kingston

Mixed news from two other Councils and held seats. In Sutton, we retained control, gaining 2 seats from the Conservatives in the process while in Kingston we have lost our 3 vote majority to the Conservatives. Our Council Leader Liz Green conceded, saying:

There are clearly going to be more Conservative councillors than Liberal Democrats. I’ve just congratulated the deputy leader David Cunningham.

Obviously we are disappointed that we are no longer in control. We’ve lost some very good councillors but we have gained some new councillors I am sure will be excellent.

We will be challenging the Conservatives and making sure how they are going to pay for some of their pledges, how they are going to protect the voluntary sector.

7 losses in Cambridge and 14 in Haringey

Bad news in Cambridge, too, where Labour won control of the Council that we had been running as a minority administration. We lost 7 seats, including that of Sarah Brown whose defeat brings to an end 14 years of openly transgender representation on the Council.

Worse news in Haringey, though, where we lost 14 of our 23 seats to Labour who ran a high Council Tax, poor quality service Council. This is in Lynne Featherstone’s constituency. Those of us who value the work that she has been doing in Government will have to do what we can to keep her there. We can perhaps start here.

Good news in held seats

All  seats we were defending in John Hemmings’ Birmingham Yardley seat stayed Liberal Democrat, as did seven out of eight in Bob Russell’s Colchester.

In Ian Swales’ Redcar constituency, we held off a strong Labour attack and successfully defended a seat in a by-election.

Abi Bell wins in Hull

As I was going to bed, the Hull Daily Mail was screaming about a collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote. Labour threw the kitchen sink at Abi Bell’s Hull seat. A former group leader, she has led the fightback since a disastrous result for us in 2011 and won the Liberal Democrat Voice Councillor of the Year award last year. She won by over 500 votes, though. Sadly, though we lost two seats, including that of long serving councillor Simone Butterworth.

Losses in Richmond and Bristol

Some heartbreaking results – Andrew Brown, the first time candidate defending a Liberal Democrat seat lost by just 7 votes to Labour on a bad night for us in the city, with 7 losses to Labour, Conservative and Greens. In Richmond, we didn’t manage to take back control of the Council and lost some long-standing  councillors like Brian Miller who had served for 24 years and Sir David Williams who had been a great Councillor for 40 years.

Some first thoughts

UKIP’s gain of over 80 seats at the time of writing is bound to make any liberal wince. This is what happens in election when 2 out of 3 people don’t vote, though. Under no circumstances must we pander to them and, actually, there’s a strong reason for Labour to lose their ambivalence and get out there and fight them properly.

It’s a very mixed bag of results for the Liberal Democrats in seats we hold. Good news  in Eastleigh, Birmingham and Colchester but worrying in Cambridge and Portsmouth. Oh, and we really need to look at how they did it in Eastleigh.

This is never a set of elections that we do particularly well in. Four years ago we lost over 100 seats while Labour gained 500 on the day they took a drubbing in the General Election. Eight years ago, when we were doing pretty well post Iraq and 3 months after we won an historic by-election in Gordon Brown’s back yard, we had a whopping gain of…..2 seats across the country.  We have to see the overall picture in that context.

I was on LBC this mooring saying roughly those things – and also said that while we would have to concentrate on held seats next year, we really needed to look at how we revived our capacity outside those areas in the longer term.

None of the results so far are what you would call a vote of confidence in the Opposition. Any night when a party like UKIP advances is not good news for anybody.

There’s a long way to go. While I’m breathing some sighs of relief, my heart goes out to the good people who have lost. An activist can only ever be as happy as the saddest campaign team, I guess.

We do need to be a bit careful about an senior figures using lines like “where we tell our story we win” because we lost in places where we worked our tails off. I think it’s very important that those inside the Westminster Bubble listen to a wider circle of people, including key activists who have been doing the door knocking in these elections. They will have useful things to say about how we present our messages next year and should be listened to.

We’ll have regular updates as they come in through the day. Keep an eye out for results from places like Kingston, Sutton, Stockport, Southport, Three Rivers, Winchester and South Lakeland.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Thank you for this round-up. I appreciate it may be difficult to keep track of all the developments announced through the night. It must be gutting to lose by 7 votes. I hope that is a learning experience.

    I think the picture emerging isn’t just about the UKIP juggernaut. For the Liberal Democrats, it is about the patchy health of local parties across England and Wales. Too many members appear to have drifted and campaigning was concentrating on getting out the core vote.

    Issues like in Portsmouth were almost about the competency of the councils and ensuring councillors were accountable for poor decisions they may have seen to be made. I think this has been the case for many councils in previous years at elections where the Lib Dems may have been involved in coalitions.

  • John Nicholson 23rd May '14 - 8:36am

    Further sadness in Richmond. We lost Cllr Sir David Williams after 40 years unbroken service on the council. It was an awful night, though we kept some excellent councillors. Not sure of the way forward, but just at the moment it is time to sleep and get over all the recent hard work of electioneering.

  • Gerald VernonJackson 23rd May '14 - 8:43am

    Both us and Labour had a really terrible night in Portsmouth at the hands of UKIP. UKIP did better in the north of the city than the south but we still lost wards that we thought we were safe in. Labour shell shocked as they fail to win a single ward in Portsmouth. Life will be different on the city council with no Mike Hancock for the first time in 43 years. We have real lessons to learn from others about identifying the UKIP vote.

  • “Keep an eye out for results from places like Sutton and South Lakeland.”

    Sutton seems to be the best result for the Lib Dems so far – a gain of 2 seats from the Tories to retain control.

  • peter tyzack 23rd May '14 - 8:54am

    regional BBC announces the ‘surprise’ result at Swindon.. what they really meant is it is not the result they expected or were working for.. Too much leading by the nose by our media, too much ‘the polls say'(or even worse ‘the bookies say’)… time our party realised not just that the media are not our friend, they are not the country’s friend. They are anti-democratic and heavily influence our politics according to their own agenda and it has to stop. Changes need to be made if we are to ‘create a free and fair society…’

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 23rd May '14 - 9:00am

    John, I’m so sad about David, too. I’d heard, but wasn’t sure if the result had been declared. I’ll add him in to the main post. Politics is very cruel at times and it’s not always the best people who win.

  • Matt (Bristol) 23rd May '14 - 9:12am

    I’m feeling frustrated that Andrew Brown didn’t get in here in Windmill Hill. I’m not a member but I am a voter and despite what I felt about the strom in a teacup over Gus Hoyt (see earlier thread) I voted for him based on the strong track record of his predecessor and his favourable election material and I encouraged others to do so; we had nothing through the door from any other candidate in our street. UKIP having seats on Bristol council is also depressing; usually politics has been to the left and centre-left in our city.

  • Sky’s projection from these results is that we would have 40 seats next yeat. A big blow in terms of losing representation, but a big gain in that we wouldn’t have the the sight of Stephen Tall streaking down White Hall.

  • Helen Dudden 23rd May '14 - 9:33am

    I think there are lessons to be learned.

    Too much complacency, not enough listening. I think this result was one I expected, sadly.

    The reason I left the Party was lack of listening. The reasons I still would not vote for this Party ,are again lack of listening to charities like The Childrens Society.

    Is it purely the winning and losing, or the fact you represent those who voted for you.

  • They truly are shocking results over all and more evidence of people’s dissatisfaction with the party’s drift to the Libertarian right and its continuing demise under the Orange Booker brigade spearheaded by the likes of Jeremy Browne and Nick Clegg. Take London where Labour are gaining seats from the Lib Dems, and Kingston which has been taken by the Conservatives. Why vote Lib Dem there when the party nationally in coalition is indistinguishable from the Conservatives and the party’s reformist vote has deserted to labour. It shows the Party must change direction and replace its leader if it is not to become a spent force in 2015 and trail in 5th or even 6th. I don’t expect the Party to hold 40 odd MPs that’s wildly optimistic and will give Panglossites something to cling onto as ‘all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds’ while the Party crashes and burns and no one on here lifts a finger to save it.

  • @david

    “It shows the Party must change direction and replace its leader if it is not to become a spent force in 2015 and trail in 5th or even 6th. I don’t expect the Party to hold 40 odd MPs that’s wildly optimistic and will give Panglossites something to cling onto as ‘all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds’ while the Party crashes and burns and no one on here lifts a finger to save it.”

    I don’t think a single person is chuffed withresults, but that figure of 40 doesn’t come from a source that is even trying to be optimistic. Also saying is no one is lifting a finger is just ludicrous, tell that to the people who have been out campaigning for weeks and months on end – many of whom can’t stand the current leadership.

  • The rise of UKIP is a sad day for anyone with a social conscience.

  • Caron – we actually held eight out of nine seats in the Colchester constituency, and nine out of ten in Colchester Borough.

    And for some other good news, our fellow Essex Lib Dems in Brentwood made gains from the Tories, who’ve now lost control of Eric Pickles’ local council 🙂

  • So you are headlining Eastleigh as a success story.
    But what are your thoughts on the dangers of “one party states”?
    The Lib Dems were keen to highlight this as a problem in Manchester, with Labour having 86 seats against 9 for the Lib Dems.
    So why is it so different at Eastleigh?

  • Helen Dudden 23rd May '14 - 10:45am

    Spin all you like , you need to face the facts.

  • Just wanted to add that in the article it mentions low turn out, I don’t wish to put a downer on it but maybe the vote could have as a percentage been worse for LibDem

    I agree with the comment above listen more and perhaps sound like real people add yes no to your vocabulary I watch daily politics and get sick when only Ukip can say yes or no and even more so when they answer the question asked not something totally irrelevant like the 3 main parties

  • Yes I am talking about the people who run this site who defend the undefendable and have ears to the Leadership and MPs, not the hard working councillors, party activists who have campaigned hard and lost their seats for example the candidate in Nethermayne who lost to UKIP. Still my partner who voted Isolationist will be delighted with their gains in Pitsea, she didn’t even receive a single Lib Dem communication.

  • A bad evening in Richmond with our representation in the Richmond seat all but wiped out and all the marginal calls going against us. But still a good bedrock in Twickenham to defend next year. Sad that national factors bring down blameless local Councillors, but that cuts both ways when there’s a national upswing (remember them!) May I remind everyone that we had no choice about going into coalition with the Tories if we were ever to be taken seriously again and that move instantly lost us former Labour-inclined voters (off to Labour) and the plague-on-all-your houses vote (off to UKIP). Whether we have made the best fist of coalition is arguable, but the decision made in May 2010 is behind today’s losses and no-one can or should be blamed for that.

    As for the suggestion that we should have our policies dictated by charities and NGOs more than they are already…can we have them dictated by liberal principles, please?

  • Tony, I agree about the “one party states” as I suspect most Lib Dems would. We got rid of them in Scotland by introducing STV for council elections, and I think it was a missed opportunity not to get that in as part of the coalition rather than the AV referendum (the Tories might have gone for it too, I suspect.) It certainly would have made us think carefully about where we put our candidates this year – we had to do that in 2011 in Scotland – and it would have been interesting to see what UKIP would have done.

    While the results in Sutton and Eastleigh are welcome, I really don’t think this can be sugar coated. Yes, we always do badly at this time, but for a party which relies heavily on its local government base this is really concerning. We didn’t do as well as we should have four years ago, and we’ve gone backwards since then which is really worrying. It’s interesting that this morning Nigel Farage actually acknowledged he’d taken our idea of targetting, and we’re going to have to retreat to that, I think.

  • Sad, too, to see Colin Rosenstiel lose in Market Ward, Cambridge City.

  • Having the policies dicated by LIBERAL DEMOCRAT principles would be a huge improvement on the current position!

  • Charles Rothwell 23rd May '14 - 11:16am

    Main lessons I see are:

    – The likes of FN, UKIP, Austrian People’s Party, Wilders etc are above all tapping into indigenous working class (many of whom (plus their kids/grandkids) are not, of course, working!) vote and their desperate search to find a ‘voice’ amidst their frustration, hopelessness and alienation (http://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/europes-new-faultline/?utm_content=buffereef96&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer). Main response of the Party should be to learn from Farage (who openly admits he has learnt from Tony Greaves etc) and go right back to ‘pavement politics’ big-time, as the loner-term strategy.
    – The IMMEDIATE priorities must be to take all that is needed* to win back TWO key groups; those who deserted in disgust (above all over tuition fees**) and are now supporting Labour (and represent de facto Milliband’s only real chance of winning in 2015) and those who do NOT vote but could be tempted to do so for this Party if the right message is being sent by the right people. (*Party leadership has to be a primary issue here and will need full and frank debate at the autumn conference!) (** Very interesting article by Polly Toynbee in today’s ‘Guardian’ about how to reform our ‘corrupt electoral system’ and which ascribes defeat of AVR largely to Tory funds plus very strong desire on “wreaking revenge on Lib Dems”: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/23/dismal-eu-ballot-corrupt-electoral-system-safe-seats-rotten)

    If the Party does not become the RADICAL Party again, it will be back to 1955 in due course (if not actually in 2015).

  • @Allan

    But how many issues can actually be boiled down to either Yes or No? Part of UKIP’s success is that they are successfully pretending that everything is far simpler than actually is the case.

    @david (lower case, not upper case)

    “Yes I am talking about the people who run this site who defend the undefendable and have ears to the Leadership and MPs, not the hard working councillors, party activists who have campaigned hard and lost their seats”.

    That is just total rubbish. The people who run this site are the very people you say they don’t talk to.

  • Richard Dean 23rd May '14 - 11:52am

    It’s not bad news at all.

    The figures show the government parties losing (Conservative and LibDem), and opposing parties gaining (Labour, UKIP, and Others). That’s a standard result when a new government has to deal with a disaster partially created by a previous government. It could have been predicted four years ago. LibDems are losing a larger fraction of their seats than the Conservatives because the LibDem seats were closer fought.

    So, no need to change the leadership or do anything drastic, in fact such would probably be damaging. But it will obviously be necessary to listen more and respond better to people’s wishes and concerns from now on. And more effort will obviously be needed in 2015, but that too was expected, and is anyway not a bad thing.

  • Not total rubbish thanks, still too many people towing the leadership line, oh the losses weren’t that bad, they were a close call etc. The Candide lot are now out in full force trying to justify disaster and putting a gloss on it. Try listening to activists for a change rather than defending the libertarian elilte wing and their destruction of the Party up and down the land.

  • Matthew Huntbach 23rd May '14 - 12:09pm


    But how many issues can actually be boiled down to either Yes or No? Part of UKIP’s success is that they are successfully pretending that everything is far simpler than actually is the case.

    Indeed, which is why they should be argued with by forcing them to talk about detailed issues, say what their actual policies are, tell us just how THEY would deal with all the problems.

    Just going on about them wanting to “turn back the clock” is no good at all, because to many that sounds like a good idea, people who are troubled look back with nostalgia to a somewhat mythical past, and think, yes they’d like that. So question UKIP in detail about how exactly they would return things to this mythical past. They have no answers – withdrawal from the EU won’t do it, and it won’t do most of the other things people who are voting UKIP want to see. The Clegg attack on UKIP which was all the lines of “we’re modern elite types, you’re old fashioned plebs who don’t understand how the world has changed in our way” was just the sort of thing to boost them rather than show them up as no good.

    Also “nah nah nah nah nah, you’re a bunch of racists” won’t work either. Sure, I’d imagine quite a few UKIP people are racists through and through. However, picking on remarks and trying to make out they are racists when they actually raise concerns that are widespread won’t work, it’ll just boost UKIP, as very many people who aren’t racist identify with the fear that if they don’t quite phrase things in the latest social elite approved terminology, they’ll be drummed out and exposed and abused and humiliated. People ARE concerned about the impact of immigration, and if you leave them thinking they can’t talk about it in case they phrase their concerns in a non-politically correct way, and pick on Nigel Farage for doing that, they’ll identify with Farage, it boosts his support.

    If you really want to expose Farage, show him up for all the ways he’s NOT the “man of the people” that he has been built up as, he’s just another economic right-winger pushing policies that help the rich.

  • You held Eastleigh but look.what.happened in neighbouring Southampton, you lost all your councillors and were beaten by the greens in nearly every ward. And this is in a council you used to jointly run with Labour.

    There’s too much positive spin.in the article above,.something I’ve come.to.expect from Liberal Voice but I’m hopeful that people are beginning to realise just how much of a disaster the party leadership has been for the success of the party.

  • “It’s not bad news at all”!!!!!!

    What planet are some people on!!!! Do some people just post on here to make the activists and long term members angry?

    Our party is collapsing in all but the most well funded MP held seats…we are ceasing to be a national party and its:

    “Not bad news at all!!!”

    I will be out delivering again this weekend….but I feel totally isolated and alienated form the leadership of the party and some of those who post on here who have no idea of the personal sacrifices some people have made to get the party on the ground to where it was, only t see it destroyed by those who failed to understand that all houses without foundations collapse eventually

  • Just got back from Spain. Amazed to see Farage having a ‘victory’ rally in Essex. With 750 English council results known at the time ukip had won 90 ….
    In the real world, on a voting day shared with the Euros, in Nuneaton 18 seats were up. Labour gained 9, mostly from the Tories – and many with very large majorities. Nuneaton is an excellent bell-weather for England.

  • Caracatus 23rd May ’14 – 12:05pm
    “Sorry Richard Dean – if we lsiten to people and concerns we will hear that Clegg has to go. No matter what good things he does and has done, and there are many – the electorate hate him.”

    That’s the trouble. Whatever Clegg says, many people want to do the opposite just to spite him. That’s the really awful thing, whether it’s the AV Referendum, the Europe issue or anything else, people do the opposite of what Nick is urging.

  • Malcolm Todd 23rd May '14 - 12:22pm

    A quick bit of Google and Excel (and a desire to avoid proper work this morning, it seems) tells me that the results in Eastleigh (with comparison with 2010 when these wards were last contested) were as follows:
    Lib Dems 43% (-8%)
    UKIP 26% (+22%)
    Tories 21% (-14%)
    Labour 10% (+1%)

    That’s actually pretty impressive, all things considered — slightly better than the by-election, if I remember rightly, but not out of keeping with it; and would suggest a definite hold at the GE. Well, it’s nice to have something positive to hold on to.

  • Peter Chegwyn 23rd May '14 - 12:23pm

    We held all 3 wards we were defending in Gosport (2 of which were lost in 2012); gained a seat from the Tories and came within 16 & 79 votes of gaining two more. My own majority went up three-fold I’m pleased to say but…

    While there are still a few places around the country where we have made gains, sadly we have again seen far too many good, hard-working Lib. Dem. Councillors lose through no fault of their own.

    No doubt we’ll all be told by the Leader that it’s a price we have to pay for being in Government.

    No doubt we’ll also be told that we’ve done better where we have sitting MPs (though Richmond, Kingston & Cambridge might beg to differ with that view).

    But for how much longer can we allow our local government and activist base to be decimated?

    Still, at least we have the European election results to look forward to… !

  • Malcolm Todd 23rd May '14 - 12:25pm

    With regard to UKIP, I should think the best thing to do would be to have a referendum on staying in the EU. When that fox is shot, what have they got?

  • Peter Chegwyn 23rd May '14 - 12:39pm

    Malcolm, What UKIP have now got is a local government base on which they can build just as we have over many years.

    Those who think UKIP’s support will simple dwindle away in the run-up to next year’s General Election are, I fear, sadly mistaken.

  • I can’t help but think that the local party’s indefencible support for Mike Hancock played a significant role in the UKIP drubbing. I’m sad that other cllrs lost their seats but the loss of Hancock should be mourned by no one. He is a running sore for the party and the sooner he holds no elected positions the better.

  • Malcolm Todd 23rd May '14 - 12:47pm

    Peter Chegwyn
    I agree with you. But this is all in the context of having a clear, single policy — withdrawal from the EU — which is very popular and which all the main parliamentary parties oppose. While there are clearly all sorts of social and economic factors behind the rise in their popularity, that policy is the essence of their appeal to the public, and the refusal to hold a referendum (especially after the shameful shuffle on the Lisbon Treaty) has become toxic for the pro-EU camp. Conceding that may well be enough to destroy their momentum.
    Of course, if their councillors turn out to be reasonably effective and therefore hold on, and if they actually get into government and demonstrate competence (like the SNP, who will probably not implode after the September referendum), then they may prove more durable and able to survive either victory or defeat in an EU vote. I doubt it’s going to turn out that way, but we’ll see.

  • Charles Rothwell.
    I dispute the idea that UKIP are tapping into the disenfranchised working class vote. UKIP are in fact heavily promoted by the press, mostly dominated by the upper middle class and privately educated.. as a way sneaking far right politics into the mainstream. For years UKIP had zero parliamentary success yet were all over the papers and question time , another institution dominated by public school boys. . The point is that Nigel Farage , another public schoolboy. is their idea of a straight talking good bloke.The same papers also tried to promote the idea that the BNP was the voice of the disenfranchised working class. It’s about nationalism and more particularly English Nationalism.

  • David wilkinson 23rd May '14 - 1:06pm

    Regarding Gareth’s comment about the Gloucester result, its the drop of 13% on the Lib Dems share that’s the worry ( see results from Gloucester Citizen), but well done to the Gloucester team on holding the seats.

    Clegg’s words about councillor losses are meaningless dribble, he made his views clear when he spoke at the Local Goverment Conference in Manchester last June and I have had no time for him since then.

    The Tories held their share of the vote at 37 per cent whilst Labour’s dropped from 28 per cent to 24 per cent and the Liberal Democrats shed support, falling from 31 per cent to just 18 per cent. UKIP soared to 15 per cent but were unable to win a seat.

    Read more: http://www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/Gloucester-City-Council-local-election-results/story-21128127-detail/story.html#ixzz32XSZ4ChB
    Read more at http://www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/Gloucester-City-Council-local-election-results/story-21128127-detail/story.html#Utjv99ErP0tPRccs.99

  • Peter Chegwyn 23rd May '14 - 1:12pm

    Nick, I live next door to Portsmouth. The local party there had handled the Mike Hancock situation pretty well until Nick Clegg and the national party intervened.

    You may consider Mike Hancock ‘a running sore for the party’ but I know he has been a superb local councillor, MP and community campaigner for well over 40 years and has given a lifetime of service to the people of Portsmouth.

    Whatever you might think of the allegations surrounding his personal life, it’s still sad to see such any councillor lose their seat after 40+ years service on the back of as yet unproven accusations.

  • Peter – They tried to bury a highly critical independent report, allowed him to still sit with the group despite his suspension, supported his campaign as an independent and failed to stand a candidate against. That is shocking given the “compelling prima facie evidence” that he sexually harassed a vulnerable constituent. We would be rightly condemning any other party that supported a candidate in this way.

  • http://www.conservativehome.com/localgovernment/2014/05/live-blog-local-election-results-2014.html

    is it correct which I see on conservativehome? All 15 Lib Dem councillors in Brent have lost their seats.

    That can not bode well for the 2015 election what with Sarah Teather standing down

  • Matt (Bristol) 23rd May '14 - 1:42pm

    Malcolm Todd: “I should think the best thing to do would be to have a referendum on staying in the EU. When that fox is shot, what have they got?”

    Well if the Bloc Quebecois in Canada is anything to go by, you just keep going and push for another referendum.

    Meanwhile they could continue to pursue the isolationist foreign policy Farage is beginning to map out, push the immigration issue again and again (with the degree of racial slur added varying from election to election), pursue all sorts of right-wing nostrums including a grammar schools revival (the line they were running last year which they haven’t mentioned much this time around), and largley turn into a modernised incarnation of Rhodes Boyson without being quite as ridiculous.

  • As one of the Gloucester winners mentioned earlier – just a comment. Our four winners have been councillors for many years and won by working very hard for those many years, by producing Focus etc. In my own ward the Tories won the last two times (we have elections by thirds), so I was quite worried I might lose. We have lost councillors in other wards and it proved very hard to get those wards back – we had awful results in two of them. So not a great result in terms of votes.

    I suspect we won not because we are Liberal Democrats but because we are well known as councillors. UKIP as elsewhere are tapping into the none of the above and whilst not winning a seat did particularly well amongst the English “working class vote” and frightened Labour in some of their strong areas.

  • Philip Collins in The Times writes correctly that :

    “The Liberal Democrat story will be replete with the clichés of disaster: wipeout, meltdown and so on. The real story will be underneath because the crucial point for the Lib Dems is to note how efficient they are becoming. The old Liberal case for electoral reform was founded on the fact that in 1983 the Alliance got 25 per cent of the vote but only 3.5 per cent of the seats. Now the Lib Dems have gone back to their core vote. At the last local elections, hidden in a dismal national poll, they came first in places where they held the parliamentary seat. Look at that before you say they are done for. The protest vote has both grown and fractured. Now that the Lib Dems are compromised by office they cannot harvest easy protest as they did in the against-everything days of Charles Kennedy. There will, no doubt, be hot-headed Lib Dems (not an oxymoron) who will say to Mr Clegg: ‘I knew Charlie Kennedy and, deputy prime minister, you are no Charlie Kennedy.’ Ignore them.”

    I calculate that in Twickenham we won 33.5% of the vote to the Tories’ 40.5. With a squeezable Labour and Green vote, more work and Vince, we’ll win in 2015.

  • “I calculate that in Twickenham we won 33.5% of the vote to the Tories’ 40.5. With a squeezable Labour and Green vote, more work and Vince, we’ll win in 2015.”

    But you can’t take it for granted that anything like all of those 33.5% would support the Lib Dems in a Westminster election. Lib Dems have always performed better in local elections than national elections, and I’d suggest that will now be truer than ever.

    Similarly, when you talk about squeezable Labour and Green votes, what you actually need is for them to be more squeezable in the Westminster election than in the locals. Again, I’d suggest the opposite is likely to be the case now.

  • Depressed Lib Dem 23rd May '14 - 3:28pm

    Wiped out in Waltham Forest (including the famous Leyton ward).

  • The odd thing is that the election prediction machine the BBC has says that if the voting patterns continued we would get 45 seats in 2015. Which in my opinion would be a result.

  • Simon Edward 23rd May '14 - 8:22pm

    Wiped out in Lambeth – a council we ran 2002-2006 and 1994-1998 – how did it all go wrong?

    My initial thoughts are that we have lost the ‘left wing’ vote – its gone to the Greens and Labour and we’ve lost the tactical Conservative voters who used to give the Lib Dems support as the best challengers to Labour – they think they might as well stick with the Tories. How we rebuild from here I dont know

  • david, you are Private Frazer and I claim my £5.

  • Nick
    The losses to UKIP to the Lib Dems in Portsmouth were by 2%, 1% and under 1%. Obviously disappointing but occasionally with First Past the Post you lose some by narrow amounts. I would guess that the local party would admit that they could have been more effective at dealing with UKIP and it looks as if Eastleigh and others are finding effective ways of dealing with UKIP.
    Labour BTW failed to win a single seat in Portsmouth and lost their safest seat (which is very safe) by 10% to UKIP. The Tories also lost a seat to UKIP in Portsmouth. The Lib Dems also had the largest vote share in Portsmouth South.

  • @Simon Edward

    “How we rebuild from here I dont know”

    It’s quite simple really.

    At present the Liberal Democrats are neither working in the national interests or the party’s interest.

    This is clearly evident in the privatisation of the NHS, which a majority of the country did not vote for,
    The widening inequality between the rich and the poor,
    An economy that is based on another housing bubble which will burst,
    Encouraging a society that demonizes the poor and the vulnerable,
    The list goes on and on.
    This coalition government has done nothing to mend “broken Britain” in fact they have made things worse.

    In the country’s interest Liberal Democrats would withdraw from the coalition immediately and allow the Tories to finish this term of parliament as a minority government.
    In the Parties interest it would listen to it’s grassroots, they being the one’s who work tirelessly on the ground and know what the people are saying. The party also needs to reflect on what and how it has got things so very badly wrong, to remind itself of it’s constitution and what it once stood for with such pride and passion.
    Clegg needs to go and the party needs to unite behind a new leader who can bring the party back together to a left of center party. Someone like Simon Hughes, possibly Tim Farron or maybe Lynn Featherstone. Then start to rebuild the trust with the electorate and be clear what the party stands for and get out there and deliver it’s message again.

    It is probably to late to salvage a respectful result at the 2015 General Election. However by delaying it and staying in this coalition for the full term of parliament , ignoring the warning signs, alienating further left leaning voters and party members, Risking being in a party of government when the bubble bursts and taking a share of the blame. It would be Catastrophic for the party which would probably take till the 2020/25 election to recover. Returning this country to 2 party politics for another decade or more.

  • matt. Leave the coalition now, and the party would be pilloried, and rightly so, for running away when the going got tough. Furthermore, it would be inordinately stupid given that (finally) the economy is turning around and it makes no sense whatsoever to suffer the pain without getting the gain.

    It’s the economy, stupid.

  • @Tabman
    Running away from a bad situation would lead to the party being pilloried? It sounds like you believe that the current government is somehow magic and that a change of government would break the spell!
    Bad policy is bad policy. If you are not going to run away from bad policy, when are you going to run away?
    From good policy?

  • @Tabman

    “The economy is turning around and it makes no sense whatsoever to suffer the pain without getting the gain.”

    And yet the Liberal Democrats are not being rewarded with this by the voters? Why is that? Maybe because the majority of the people in this country, “those at the bottom” are not seeing any beneficial effect on their personal circumstances. The only people benefiting from the recovery are those at the very top who have seen their wealth soar during the recession whilst everyone else suffered.

    The Tories are and will be rewarded for any recovery by their friends in big business, donors and the better off.
    The simple truth of the matter is, there is no place in politics for the liberal democrats as a center right party Some in the party might want to delude themselves into thinking they are centrerists and convince others of the same, But the mask has well and truly slipped.
    The Tories coffers will be well and truly replenished in time for the 2015 election and be under no illusion they will be ruthless when it comes to the campaign and they will defecate on the Liberal Democrats at every given opportunity in an attempt to win a majority.

  • matt, Voter; anyone with a mortgage will be quaking in their boots at the propsect of Chancellor Balls.

  • @Tabman

    “anyone with a mortgage will be quaking in their boots at the propsect of Chancellor Balls”

    What a ridiculous thing to say.
    Look at the historical rates here http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/boeapps/iadb/repo.asp and I think it is quite clear historically that interest rates where lower on average during the Labour government compared to the previous Tory Government.
    In fact the rate dropped to 0.5% on the Thu, 05 Mar 2009 (during a Labour government) in response to the financial crisis admittedly.

    The interest rates are going to rise again in the near future no matter who is in the next government. Then yes Mortgage borrowers should be worried, fueled by the governments poor policy of help to buy and a housing bubble that is most certainly going to go bang.

  • Peter Chegwyn 23rd May '14 - 11:20pm

    I agree with much of what Matt says in his last two posts.

    Perhaps those of us who have been predicting since 2010 that Nick Clegg would lead the party, our party, over an electoral cliff, should now start planning for post-2015 and a ‘pick-up-the-pieces-and-start-again’ operation.

    A bit like Tony Greaves & Co. did after the 1970 General Election when their ‘Community Politics’ resolution to the then Liberal Assembly helped establish a strategy for re-building the Party through active and effective local government campaigning.

    Oh, and ‘community politics’ campaigning can still work. That’s how we held all our seats in Gosport on Thursday, gained another and came close to gaining two more.

  • Peter Chegwyn 23rd May '14 - 11:23pm

    Pity no-one at the top of the Party listens to those of us with a proven track record of winning elections in good times and bad over 40 years and more.

  • @Matt “The odd thing is that the election prediction machine the BBC has says that if the voting patterns continued we would get 45 seats in 2015. Which in my opinion would be a result.”

    If they’re basing it on local votes, then we’re really in trouble. There are a whole bunch of people who are still prepared to vote for us locally but will not be voting for us nationally.

  • William Jones 24th May '14 - 10:33am

    No mention of Manchester in the article 🙁

  • Dave G Fawcett 24th May '14 - 12:39pm

    There’s not much mention of anything in the North William Jones. Up here in Gateshead we managed to ‘buck the national trend’ somewhat by winning all of the four seats we were defending with, I believe, increased majorities. Wwe also came within 80 votes of taking a seat from Labour – one for the future there.

  • Cllr Steve Radord 24th May '14 - 4:14pm

    In Liverpool The Liberal party with a new Candidate held Tuebrook Stoneycroft with 60% of vote, held any Labour city swing off totally on this seat.

    Lib ems loose all 6 cllrs and now are reduced to 3 cllrs ion two wards, making them vulnerable

    UKIP failed to make a serious run on any ward even where former Libs ems stood as UKIP

  • T

  • They don’t care about the vulnerable, they don’t care about people with disabilities, they only care about their people in the City, the Bankers, the well off. This characterises the Orange Bookers. Their first act of spite was to axe sure start and then further decimate your public services. They abolished the Agricultural Wages Board singed up to privatising more public services like the Royal Mail when it isn’t Liberal Democrat policy to do so and the next thing they want to do is privatise the NHS. They are desperate to do this and you don’t see them hitting out at Ukip on this issue only the EU. In short they have sucked the lifeblood out of the party and gloat on here at anyone who dares to oppose these free market privateers and their ilk. It’s never too late to get them out and now is the time to start with the immediate removal of Clegg.

  • Student fees, bedroom tax, Health and Social Care Bill, the lobbing Bill, flogging off the royal Mail at half price, .etc. …what do you expect? Were I live, conservative South Croydon area, Libdems used to come second in elections, always being the only realistic alternative to Tory to vote for. This time however, in such wards like Purley and Kenly, the Libdems have come FIFTH, after Tory, Ukip, Labour and even Green (and the Greens have never ever bothered to campaign in these wards!). I call that a humiliation.

  • SIMON BANKS 24th May '14 - 9:34pm

    The health of the local party is not necessarily the issue. In some places a good campaign with OK few activists (but most of us won seats in the past with very small teams) is getting nowhere. Where we have been quite weak and are trying to build up, it is very hard indeed.

    I share concern about the number of seats we’re not contesting nowadays, but to find paper candidates and get nomination papers signed takes work and so often the priority is with strategic parliamentary seats. I agree with Caron: as soon as the general election is over, the party at all levels, including HQ, President and leader, need to give a high priority to helping us build up a presence where we’ve been absent and maintain one where we’re struggling. We cannot go back to the Liberal Party’s position before the mid-1970s, of islands of strength in a sea of absence or irrelevance.

  • Cllr Steve Radford 25th May '14 - 2:00pm

    TOMVOUTE has got it spot on, coalition is not the issue its the right wing policies……

    The problem for those of us remaining as Liberals rather than Lib Dems we are being tarnished by name association

    THink the debate is if we should remain as The Liberal Party or differentiate as Progressive Liberals– whilst we kept our key Liverpool ward the vote was down in other wards. The collapse in former Lib dems wards was beyond belief- even if you fielded a candiate

  • John Wheaver 26th May '14 - 7:21am

    I am likely not to favour the candidate(s) chosen to oppose Nick Clegg – and don’t want a damaging campaign with no result (so I “don’t know” if I want him removed). Nick’s worst failure was with the AV campaign. Coalition: the only possible course and performed at leas as well as could be expected.

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