Despite the intense media focus on Jeremy Corbyn, the final election results showed that the Conservatives actually lost four times as many English council seats as Labour.
On Sunday night, the final results revealed that Corbyn’s Labour is down 11 seats, while Cameron’s Conservatives are down 49. This defies mainstream media predictions, with The Guardian claiming that a loss of up to 50 seats would still be a good result for Labour.
As The Mirror reports:
Late victories for Labour on the other hand saw the party gain control of Bristol City Council – while the Tories lost Elmbridge in Surrey to No Overall Control.
And the Tories lost a further 10 seats in by-elections which did not feature in the overall count.
Labour also achieved a larger proportion of the national vote than the Conservatives:
— Alex Nunns (@alexnunns) May 6, 2016
Labour also won all the mayoral elections it contested. Labour’s Joe Anderson won his second term in Liverpool. Sadiq Khan crushed Zac Goldsmith’s divisive and downright racist campaign by achieving the most direct votes for any politician in British history, winning the London mayoralty. After losing to George Ferguson in 2012, Labour’s same candidate – Marvin Rees – bounced back to secure victory this year. Rees took 40.4% (56,729) of the first preference votes ahead of Ferguson’s 23.1%t (32,375). It would be hard to ignore the ‘Corbyn effect’ in this victory – the same candidate was running in 2012, but what’s changed is the Labour party’s leader and direction. Voter turnout also nearly doubled to 45%.
Furthermore, Labour enjoyed two parliamentary by-election victories on local election day. The new MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough increased Labour’s share of the vote by 5.8%.
Although the SNP continued to surge in Scotland at Labour’s expense, this does not hold up as an indictment of Corbyn’s leadership.
People should be honest: @jeremycorbyn inherited a disastrous electoral legacy in Scotland that is the product of 20 years of 'New Labour'.
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) May 6, 2016
It was the New Labour project, that Corbyn vehemently opposed, that eroded the party’s support in Scotland. The idea that a Blairite leader would have done better is preposterous considering that Labour is losing support to a party that is left-led, anti-Trident and pro-independence. Ed Miliband sharing a platform with Cameron during the ‘better together’ campaign certainly did not do the party any favours.
To summarise, while the local election results in England were not incredible for Corbyn – they were even worse for the Conservatives. This is embarrassing for the pundits who constantly brand the Labour leader as ‘unelectable’.
Featured image via Labour website.
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