The Conservatives and Labour have both faced a backlash at the ballot box over Brexit while smaller parties and independents have surged ahead.
– Who are the winners?
With results in from 100 of the 248 councils where elections are being held the Liberal Democrats had a net gain of 235 seats and the Greens 34.
The Lib Dems took four councils from the Tories: Winchester, Cotswold, Bath and North East Somerset, and Hinckley and Bosworth, while North Kesteven went to independents.
To put the national results in context, these are the best @LibDems local election results since 2003 – right in the aftermath of the Iraq war.
— Layla Moran (@LaylaMoran) May 3, 2019
Another point of satisfaction for the party came from the fact leading Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg now has a Liberal Democrat councillor representing him in Somerset.
– And the losers?
The Conservatives had a net loss of 332 seats and Labour 45.
While the Tories took two councils – Walsall and North East Lincolnshire from no overall control – they lost Peterborough, Basildon, Southend, Worcester, St Albans, Welwyn Hatfield, Folkestone and Hythe, and Tandridge to no overall control.
— Eddie Hughes MP (@EddieHughes4WN) May 3, 2019
Labour was hoping to take Swindon from the Tories, but didn’t manage to.
– What are the Tories saying?
Brexit-backing Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin said: “If the Conservative Party doesn’t mend its ways pretty quickly, the Conservative Party is going to be toast.
“It is quite obvious that the Conservative Party has got to deliver Brexit – and a Brexit that really is Brexit.”
Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the losses reflected the anger among voters over Brexit and called on MPs to rally behind Theresa May’s deal.
– And Labour?
Jeremy Corbyn’s party also struggled, losing seats at a point in the electoral cycle when they could expect to be making significant gains at the expense of the Government.
Labour lost control in Bolsover for the first time ever, in Hartlepool and in Wirral , although it did gain Trafford from no overall control.
Labour MP Jess Phillips reacted by saying her party’s position on Brexit had “failed”.
I'm off to bed as have to be up at 7am to do the school run. My final word is that I think our position on Brexit has failed. Bravery is needed. If you combine kindness and effectiveness with a bit of grit most people will respect you even when they don't always agree.
— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) May 3, 2019
Fellow Labour MP Wes Streeting said losses in Sunderland and Liverpool demonstrated that “looking both ways on Brexit isn’t doing Labour any good”.
– The Lib Dems are happy
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Sir Edward Davey said the party’s results were “equivalent to our best strides forward ever in our history”, comparable to surges following the Iraq War and during the meltdown of John Major’s administration.
@LibDems are having a great night!
No question that its down to the hard work of activists across the country – proud to see so many local teams get the results they deserve.
Voters are rejecting both Lab and Cons and demanding better!
Awesome night of #LibDemGains
— Ed Davey🔶 (@EdwardJDavey) May 3, 2019
He said: “It is just a fabulous night. We are clearly back in the game.”
– And the other parties?
Change UK MP Anna Soubry, formerly a Conservative, has said the local election results tell the two main parties “plague on both your houses”.
Strikes me that on the basis of the results in so far – the message to both main parties is “plague on both your houses”. People are voting for change and change is indeed coming @TheIndGroup#Elections2019
— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) May 3, 2019
The recently formed party had not stood candidates in the local elections, but will be running in the EU elections later this month if they go ahead.
The Brexit Party also skipped these elections, but Ben Habib, Brexit Party MEP candidate for London, said: “We believe the vote to leave the EU and these elections are closely linked, and we are not surprised that Labour and the Tories appear to have been punished at the polls because Theresa May, her Government and the House of Commons have botched Brexit.”