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Labour has emerged this morning with historic gains in London councils as local election results continue to trickle in.
Sir Keir Starmer’s party has won control of three major battlegrounds in the capital: Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster. Until now, Westminster has never been under Labour control, while Wandsworth stood as a Tory stronghold since 1978 and was once described by Margaret Thatcher as her “favourite council”.
Labour has also made gains in Hillingdon, where Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge constituency is located, but was unable to win control of the council.
Outside London, however, Labour’s success appears to be more muted. Despite winning Southampton and Cumberland from the Tories, and successfully defending Sunderland – which had been a key focal point for Conservative efforts – Labour has yet to make the gains that some polls predicted.
In Hull, the Liberal Democrats managed to seize control of the council, ousting Labour, which had controlled the area since 2011.
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Pollster Sir John Curtice said: “In terms of seats won and lost, while [Labour] made net gains in London, it’s actually made a slight net loss outside of London. So outside of London it’s a rather different story. And of course Labour can’t win Westminster parliament by simply winning Westminster council.”
The Tories have held on to their majorities in several authorities, despite losing dozens of seats. Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden told the BBC that the results did not “demonstrate that Labour has the momentum to form the next government”.
Over half of England’s councils have yet to declare their results. The results from Scotland and Wales are not expected until Friday afternoon.
Results in England (as of 09:45):
Labour: 1,200 councillors (+34), 37 councils (+3)
Conservatives: 540 councillors (-122), 18 councils (-6)
Liberal Democrats: 259 councillors (+59), 4 councils (+1)
Residents Association: 40 councillors (+6)
Greens: 39 councillors (+23)
Independent: 39 councillors
Reform: 2 councillors (+2)