Vast majority of Labour’s net loss so far was in strong working-class leave areas
Politicians and media are putting their preferred spin on the results declared so far from last night’s local elections, with most suggesting the LibDems’ and Greens’ improved performance from a low base in 2015 shows the strength of remain feeling.
The LibDems’ wins have been mainly in areas where they are traditionally the Tories’ main opposition, making them the natural beneficiaries of an anti-Tory protest vote.
But as far as the results have affected Labour tonight – apart from a few results where well-known local issues have driven losses to ‘protest’ parties – the message seems clear.
As of the time of writing, Labour’s net loss has been seventy-four seats. Labour’s net losses in seven working-class areas that voted strongly to leave the EU in 2016 make up seventy:
- Ashfield -20
- Bolsover -14
- Sunderland -12
- Barnsley -7
- Bolton -7
- Stoke -5
- Hartlepool -5
Barnsley’s Labour council leader was as emphatic as his Sunderland counterpart last night about the reasons for the party’s losses in the town:
Election expert John Curtice agreed, observing that Labour’s losses in working-class heartlands were driven by votes moving to UKIP and to pro-Brexit independent candidates.
Whatever is happening in areas where the Tories and LibDems traditionally fight it out, Labour’s working-class heartlands that voted leave are sending a clear signal to the party to respect their choice in the referendum.
Labour’s net loss is falling as more results come in, down from eight-five an hour ago.
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