Local elections 2022: Labour takes Westminster and Wandsworth as Partygate hits Tories – live updates

Here are some images from the night:

British Labour party supporters celebrate a win announcement at the Westminster city council local elections
British Labour party supporters celebrate a win announcement at the Westminster city council local elections. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters
Members of the counting staff rest during the counting process at the Westminster city council local elections, at Lindley Hall
Members of the counting staff rest during the counting process at the Westminster city council local elections, at Lindley Hall. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, British Labour party MP, at Wandsworth town hall
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, British Labour party MP, at Wandsworth town hall. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Labour claims the results so far amount to a “turning point”. Shabana Mahmood, the party’s national campaign coordinatory, said in a statement.

This is a turning point for the Labour party. After the disastrous results of 2019, these early results are showing the progress we have made thanks to Keir’s leadership. Labour is making headway in England, Scotland and Wales, taking over key Conservative councils and winning in vital parliamentary battlegrounds across the country.

The party is particularly flagging up its gains in London. But it also says that, on the basis of aggregate vote share, these results imply it would gain 16 leave-voting seats in a general election: Carlisle, Copeland, Great Grimsby, Hartlepool, Ipswich, Leigh, Lincoln, Peterborough, Stevenage, Thurrock, West Bromwich East, West Bromwich West, Wolverhampton North East, Wolverhampton South West, Worcester and Workington.

This is from Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) thinktank, on the results so far.

With around half of councils now declared, the most dramatic results so far have been in London with Labour taking control of Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster councils. This has huge symbolic value and losing all three of these councils in a single election will be a big blow to Conservative morale.

At the same time, it’s part of a longer term trend in which Labour has tightened its grip on inner London. Over the last decade, we have seen an increasing polarisation with the Labour vote concentrated in large cities and university towns and Conservative support spread across the rest of the country. In that respect, Conservative losses in Southampton or West Oxfordshire might be more telling indicators.

Labour takes Westminster from Tories for first time in more than 50 years

Andrew Sparrow

Andrew Sparrow

Good morning. I’m Andrew Sparrow, taking over from Helen Livingstone.

Labour has taken control of Westminster city council in London, PA Media reports. That is an even bigger gain for the party than Wandsworth, where Labour now also holds the council (having gained nine seats, with the Tories losing 11). Westminster has been Tory-held since it was created in 1964.

The Liberal Democrats are celebrating the gain of five councillors in West Oxfordshire, home to former prime minister David Cameron’s old constituency of Witney.

Conservatives have lost their majority, losing five seats to leave them with 20, while the Lib Dems gained four to increase their total to 15. No party has an overall majority.

“Toppling the Conservatives in David Cameron’s backyard is a truly historic result. The blue wall seats are crumbling beneath the weight of Boris Johnson’s failure of leadership across England,” the party tweeted.

Toppling the Conservatives in David Cameron’s backyard is a truly historic result.

The blue wall seats are crumbling beneath the weight of Boris Johnson’s failure of leadership across England.

— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) May 6, 2022

Prominent Conservative MP and former minister Stephen Hammond has said his local Wimbledon area saw a high turnout of “angry Tories” voting against the Conservatives, adding that it ought to be a “clarion bell ringing in Downing Street to make sure we are concentrating on the cost of living”.

Speaking to the BBC, he said “Partygate” had been a big influence on voting.

He also said he wanted Boris Johnson to bring “talents back into the government”.

“Any government that doesn’t have people like Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt clearly isn’t using all the talents available to it.”

Asked about Boris Johnson’s future, he said: “I think he has to prove his integrity to the country.”

A bit more analysis from professor of politics and polling expert John Curtice, who has told the BBC that turnout looks slightly down on other recent local elections.

On average the turnout is down by 1 percentage point on 2018 in the BBC’s key wards, and by 2.5 points on last year.

However, there is no sign that where turnout fell the most, the Conservatives particularly suffered as a result.

The latest snapshot of results across England from the BBC shows the Conservatives approaching triple digit council-seat losses, while Labour are up 28, the Lib Dems are up 44 and the Greens are up 20:

Conservative leader in Barnet concedes defeat

The Conservative leader of Barnet council Daniel Thomas says his party has lost control of the council, the BBC reports.

Thomas blamed his defeat on “a perfect storm of the cost of living crisis, 12 years of a Conservative government and redrawn boundaries”.

“This is a warning shot from Conservative supporters – a fair number just stayed at home,” he continued.

The issue of “Partygate” only came up “very occasionally”, he said, adding that he didn’t believe there has been “a huge conversion” to Labour.

The council has been under Conservative control since its creation in the 1960s, apart from an eight-year period from 1994 until 2002, when the Tories regained control.

Barnet has three Conservative MPs, who may now be worried about their seats.

Conservatives lose Barnet Council. Still waiting for the official declaration, but Labour happy with what they’re seeing. pic.twitter.com/ckcAarSbDz

— Richard Gaisford (@richardgaisford) May 6, 2022

While reports continue to suggest that Westminster could be another Conservative casualty tonight, Richmond is also apparently shaping up to be a bloodbath for the Tories with the BBC’s Lewis Goodall reporting the party is on track to lose ten councillors, leaving it with just one. The Lib Dems won control of the council from the Tories in 2018.

Looks like there’s only going to be 1 Tory left on Richmond council. Down from 11.

— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) May 6, 2022

History made in Wandsworth tonight as Labour take the council. Tories suffering big losses in Westminster – I’m on my way back there now. Updates as they happen on @TimesRadio https://t.co/Ba7Kun6dHh

— Charlotte Ivers (@CharlotteIvers) May 6, 2022

After losing Wandsworth, which is notable but not that surprising, Labour starting to make gains in Westminster as well. Tory sources suggesting that council may also be a casualty tonight which would be a surprise

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) May 6, 2022

Labour have reportedly won Barnet, another London council that was being closely watched.

Overheard Barnet Tory leader Dan Thomas graciously accepting defeat and wishing Barnet Labour leader the best running council

— lee harpin (@lmharpin) May 6, 2022

The Greens have been one of the big winners from Thursday’s elections, up 20 seats overall in England so far, bringing their total to 30.

Gains were made in Plymouth and Coventry, where they have celebrated their first ever seats, while they have also picked up a seat in the newly created council in Cumberland and in South Tyneside they were up three seats.

In Wirral, the Greens also added three seats, leaving them with eight.

The Conservatives have lost control of West Oxfordshire, David Cameron’s old patch, with no party winning an overall majority, according to the BBC’s election results stream.

NEW: Conservatives LOSE West Oxfordshire to NOC. David Cameron’s old patch. Tories have controlled it since 2000- lose their maj thanks to Lib Dem gains.

— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) May 6, 2022

A tweet from the Guardian’s deputy political editor Rowena Mason:

John McDonnell pointing out that Labour has picked up at least 3 more seats on Hillingdon council – including an Uxbridge ward in the heart of Boris Johnson’s constituency

— Rowena Mason (@rowenamason) May 6, 2022

Archie Bland

Archie Bland

Ravi Govindia, the outgoing Tory leader of Wandsworth council, has told the BBC that local services were viewed positively by voters but that “other events have clouded the judgement of people in Wandsworth … Consistently on the doorstep the issue of Boris Johnson was raised.”

He suggested the cost of living crisis was also an issue and that Conservative supporters may have stayed home.

Labour wins Wandsworth from Conservatives

Wandsworth has been called for Labour, with Sky News reporting the party have so far won 32 seats, the Tories 22 and one seat won by an independent. It’s the first time Labour has won the council since 1974.

The Conservatives have lost control of Southampton council to Labour, local MP Royston Smith said.

Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, told the BBC that Partygate and the prime minister’s integrity had “not really” come up with voters: “A lot of them were saying we’re just not interested in this nonsense”.

He said that the subject people were most interested in was “this worry about the cost of living.”

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