The BBC has used a graphic showing the results from last week’s local elections that depicts a Conservative party net loss of thirty-three councillors:
However, other news sources quote a much higher figure, such as the Guardian and Press Association:
The SKWAWKBOX contacted the BBC to ask for an explanation of the discrepancy. The BBC pointed to this site detailing its methods, which says:
Seat change is based on how many seats each party won at the previous comparable election, not what the seats were on the eve of the election…
The total number of seats per party will be slightly different between the seats-at-dissolution and those won at the last election.
Fair enough as far as it goes – but ‘slightly different’ may not quite cover a seat loss based on standings prior to the election that is almost triple the number used by the BBC.
In addition to that, the Tories ‘gained’ two councillors by suddenly reinstating at least two candidates immediately after they were elected – who had been suspended for racist comments – in order to pad out their figures in tight boroughs. This reduced their loss figure.
Based on the change from the actual position of the parties to that after last week’s elections, the real swing in councillor numbers from Tory to Labour was 170 – or 172 if the two reinstated racist-comment councillors are excluded – not the 110 figure used in its broadcasts and on its website by the BBC.
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