What an odd set of results we have seen from Thursday’s local elections which were fought against the background of an appalling hard Brexit being promoted by both Labour as the Official Opposition and the Tories as our Government.
Only the Lib Dems and Greens of the UK-wide parties could be clearly identified as Remain.
Locally in Sefton and in particular the Southport Constituency the Lib Dems gathered the most votes across the 7 wards yet they only won 2 of those wards – Meols and Birkdale.
A big factor in these elections has been the almost complete destruction of UKIP. I saw an analysis of where the UKIP votes went and it was mainly to Brexit supporting Labour rather than the Brexit supporting Conservatives by a factor of 3 to 1. That may heap more trouble on Labour of course because it’s already struggling with racism problems and how is bringing more former UKIP voters into their tent going to help Corbyn grapple with it?
But why did our utterly discredited Conservative/DUP Government not feel the electorate’s anger more in these elections? Probably because Labour are not offering an alternative on the biggest issue of the day (Brexit) and an Official Opposition that refuses to oppose is hardly likely to inspire masses of voters to switch to them.
The net seat gains and losses for each party from the 150 councils up for election looks like this:-
Lib Dem +75 seats
Labour + 77 seats
Tory – 33 seats
Green + 8 seats
UKIP – 123 seats