Vote 2011: Early signs that Labour is winning in key marginals

The media will focus today on the Lib Dems' meltdown and SNP victory in Scotland. But Labour is also taking seats of the Tories in key marginals.

For obvious reasons the media will focus today on the Liberal Democrats’ meltdown and the SNP victory in Scotland. But of greater long-term interest is what the local election results tell us about the next general election, which will be a fight between Labour and the Conservatives.

The results are still trickling in, but with just 109 of 279 councils declared there are already some bright spots:

– A number of Labour MP’s have mentioned Gravesham where the party has taken eight seats off the Tories to take control for the first time since 2003. The Tories had a majority of 9,312 at the last general election.

– Labour has gained North Warwickshire taking three seats off the Tories. Mike O’Brien lost the Parliamentry seat by 54 votes last May.

– In Lincoln, Labour has taken overall control. Gillian Merron lost the seat by a shade over 1,000 votes last year.

– Labour gained Telford and Wrekin taking 10 seats off the Tories and 6 off the Lib Dems. Telford is a marginal constituency which Labour held by just 981 votes in 2010.

– In Thanet in Kent, Labour won six seats removing the Tories’ control for the first time since 1999. Laura Sandys defeated Labour’s Stephen Ladyman in South Thanet at the last election.

– And in Lancashire, Labour has picked up four seats to win Hyndburn. Labour’s majority fell to just 3,000 in the last election.

With regard to the expectations game, although not a view held by all Labour commentators, Luke Akehurst, who sits on Labour’s National Executive Committee, has concluded that “anything above 400 gains is impressive by recent historical standards”.

By 10.30am, Labour had picked up 339 new councillors and, according to Labour List editor Mark Ferguson, was on course to win 500 to 600. Not a bad night’s work in England.

We’ll keep this post updated during the day.

UPDATE 15.15:

– In Ipswich, Labour has picked up five seats (including two from the Tories) to take overall control of the council. Last May, Ben Gummer beat Labour’s Chris Mole to give the Conservatives the parliamentary seat for the first time since 1992.

UPDATE 18.17:

– There has been an astonishing result in Gedling where Labour has won 23 seats (including 13 from the Tories) to take the council from the Tories. Vernon Coaker held on last time around but with a majority of just 1,859.

40 Responses to “Vote 2011: Early signs that Labour is winning in key marginals”

  1. Joseph Ottaway

    RT @leftfootfwd: Early signs that Labour is winning in key marginals //bit.ly/iYSoc7

  2. Will Straw

    As I mentioned on BBC News this morning, Labour is picking up councils in Tory marginals: //bit.ly/mmYG8y

  3. Rosa Edwards

    RT @wdjstraw: As I mentioned on BBC News this morning, Labour is picking up councils in Tory marginals: //bit.ly/mmYG8y

  4. Gemma Tumelty

    RT @wdjstraw: As I mentioned on BBC News this morning, Labour is picking up councils in Tory marginals: //bit.ly/mmYG8y

  5. paulstpancras

    RT @wdjstraw: As I mentioned on BBC News this morning, Labour is picking up councils in Tory marginals: //bit.ly/mmYG8y

  6. Lynda Waltho

    RT @wdjstraw: As I mentioned on BBC News this morning, Labour is picking up councils in Tory marginals: //bit.ly/mmYG8y

  7. Shamik Das

    RT @wdjstraw: As I mentioned on BBC News this morning, Labour is picking up councils in Tory marginals: //bit.ly/mmYG8y @leftfootfwd

  8. Ingvild Sofie Mostad

    RT @leftfootfwd: Early signs that Labour is winning in key marginals //bit.ly/iYSoc7

  9. Cliff James

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vote 2011: Early signs that Labour is winning against Tories in key marginals – //bit.ly/kyDm7L

  10. Political Scrapbook

    While decimated in Scotland, Labour recovery has started in earnest in key English marginal areas //bit.ly/iYSoc7 (from @wdjstraw)

  11. yorkierosie

    RT @psbook: While decimated in Scotland, Labour recovery has started in earnest in key English marginal areas //bit.ly/iYSoc7 (from …

  12. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vote 2011: Early signs that Labour is winning in key marginals //bit.ly/kyDm7L

  13. Michael Dugher

    Must read for Labour activists @wdjstraw: As I mentioned on BBC this morning Lab picking up councils in Tory marginals: //t.co/6eRySdv

  14. Andrew Georgiou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Early signs that Labour is winning in key marginals //bit.ly/iYSoc7

  15. Toby Young

    I would have expected Labour to do far better than this, given that the cuts are beginning to bite. The overall picture that’s emerging, if you include the regional elections and the referendum, is that the Lib Dems did as badly as everyone was expecting, but the Tories did a lot better and Labour a lot worse. If I was a member of your party I would be questioning Ed Miliband’s political judgment this morning. Turning the regional election in Scotland into a referendum about the cuts was clearly the wrong strategy and throwing his weight behind the Yes to AV campaign has also turned out to be a mistake. He looks like a two-time loser, rather than a winner, while David Cameron emerges with one clear win – the referendum – and a better-than-expected result in the regional and local elections. In short, Cameron’s authority has been boosted, while Miliband’s has been diminished. Spin it as you will, but this is a good day for the Tories.

  16. Selohesra

    I’d have thought if Labour were honest then from their astionishingly low base that anything shy of 1000 councillors gained would be a disapointment. Although perhaps the key word there is honest

  17. dr nicola headlam

    RT @leftfootfwd: Early signs that Labour is winning in key marginals //bit.ly/iYSoc7

  18. blogs of the world

    The media will focus today on the Lib Dems' meltdown and SNP victory in Scotland. But Labo… //reduce.li/sjo0ms #early

  19. Ed's Talking Balls

    You say ‘not a bad night’s work in England’.

    Well, perhaps. But it certainly wasn’t a good one either. The Conservative vote, by and large, held, while Labour didn’t capitalise on the unpopularity of spending cuts at central level.

    And as for Scotland, Miliband must be gutted. Didn’t he say that that’s where the fightback was going to start?

  20. Anon E Mouse

    Will Straw – Labour have been hammered in Scotland and with that and the fact they will be obliterated in the South East where UK elections are won and lost last night was a very very bad night for the party.

    The sooner Labour activists get real the sooner they may become electable again.

    Your remarks surprise me Will Straw. Anyone is entitled to adhere to different political opinions and allegiances but you are departing from the truth here and spinning these results into anything but a nightmare for an opposition is just stupid.

    As party leader William Hague got a higher proportion of the vote against Labour than Ed Miliband got last night.

    The sooner Labour realise that negative narratives against their opponents (Tory Toffs – whatever) simply do not work then they are doomed. The fact is for the last 18 months I have been on this site asking why people cannot be positive towards Labour but using comments by Luke Akehurst (nothing against him but to call him tribal is an understatement) to substantiate your arguments will appeal only to Labour voters. Who will vote Labour anyway.

    Labour has got to have a reboot and start being positive Will Straw if you want to appeal to floating voters.

    On this site alone will you please stop moderators posting articles running down popular individuals like Jeremy Clarkson or popular papers like The Sun. People do not like it and it makes Labour supporters look weird frankly.

    All that does is alienate potential voters and make Labour a small tent that no one will enter. Blair knew it. Even Brown knew it but whoever is running Labour is showing incompetence on a monumental scale and the fact that even in the face of these cuts Labour only poll 2% more than the Tories is a disaster.

    If last night can’t convince Labour they need massive and immediate change then nothing can…

  21. Ed's Talking Balls

    I don’t think Brown did know that, Anon E Mouse.

    That is one of the things which made him deeply unpopular and, ultimately, unelectable. Ed Miliband is his natural successor.

    I have to say that, while I couldn’t stand Teflon Tony, particularly from the middle of his tenure onwards, he did “get it”. He understood that a successful party can’t simply talk to itself ad nauseum. It has to be a broad church and, crucially, it has to understand aspiration.

  22. Admit it, Labour dropped the ball | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] are the real enemy. They have always been the real enemy. While Atul Hatwal , Anthony Painter and Will Straw see silver linings to yesterday – I see a wider unwillingness to admit that Labour took its […]

  23. Tom Miller

    Taken a bump to the Scottish core, but Labour still winning key English marginals. //tinyurl.com/6j8e58u So much for 'Red Ed'!

  24. Jane Phillips

    RT @tommilleruk: Taken a bump to the Scottish core, but Labour still winning key English marginals. //tinyurl.com/6j8e58u So much f …

  25. @Parlez_me_nTory

    Some interesting comments //bit.ly/jk2CmC

  26. scandalousbill

    Toby Young,

    You say:

    “In short, Cameron’s authority has been boosted, while Miliband’s has been diminished. Spin it as you will, but this is a good day for the Tories.”

    Do you seriously expect that the battering suffered by the Libdems will not impact their future compliance with coalition policies?

    For example, with the issue of NHS reforms, given the Libdem convention rebellion against support for Tory initiated reforms, the controversy already created within the impacted professional, medical and care communities, that Libdem coalition members will now humbly acquiesce to Tory post pause NHS dictates? Talk about spin, the notion that Cameron has gained or rosy days lay ahead for the stuttering coalition, is what is more spin than substance.

    As for the Cameron emerging as a winner from the mudslinging of the referendum campaign, I would say the greater the Tory involvement in the No to AV campaign is exposed, the lower Cameron’s credibility will drop. I do not think that Benny Hill quips will extract him from the mire the Tories, and he, as the leader of the Tory No to AV campaign, have mired themselves and him.

  27. Anon E Mouse

    Ed’s Talking Balls – I don’t have a lot to say in favour of Gordon Brown – I really don’t like lying bullies but he did realise that The Daily Mail and those sorts of papers were widely read and the electorate could be courted through them.

    Early on he had support from his personal friend Paul Dacre the head of the Mail Group but in the end even the Mail couldn’t support him when he pulled stunts like allegedly assaulting members of his staff: //www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1247357/Angry-Gordon-Brown-hit-aide-yanked-secretary-chair.html

    Despite realising the popularity of the Mail and the Murdoch press, Brown’s unpleasant nature meant he just couldn’t connect with the public.

    Tony Blair was a winner in every sense for Labour and could connect with the electorate all over the country and not just in their heartlands.

    Milliband is frankly useless. I liked his initial speech but since then he has been weak and ineffectual.

    My problem is I don’t like the only opposition in the country to be the media but as long as Labour stick with Ed Miliband they have no chance of governing the country again.

    To lose so badly in Scotland and to arrogantly continue to espouse the very polices so comprehensively rejected by the electorate last year is staggering. Will Straw’s piece here is like a boxer who gets a couple of good shots in before being hammered and losing the fight and instead of accepting the loss his trainer concentrates on the two good punches. It’s madness…

  28. Anon E Mouse

    scandalousbill – Labour have lost Scotland in a system gerrymandered to improve their chances and have no overall control in Wales. Despite these cuts they are only 2% ahead of the Tories and that is a disaster.

    The coalition is now stronger because of the Lib Dem losses. There is no way they could effectively leave now and cause a General Election. Even without the forthcoming boundary changes which the Lib Dems would be destroyed – they have no choice but to continue with the government and hope for the best with an upturn in the economy.

    If an election were called tomorrow the poor Labour polls and dire financial circumstances would destroy the party and the Tories would win an outright majority…

  29. Noxi

    RT @wdjstraw: As I mentioned on BBC News this morning, Labour is picking up councils in Tory marginals: //bit.ly/mmYG8y

  30. scandalousbill

    Anon,

    You say.

    “The coalition is now stronger because of the Lib Dem losses. There is no way they could effectively leave now and cause a General Election.”

    As I understand it, Libdems leaving the coalition or defeating the Tories on any motion does not automatically trigger an election. There are a number of possible outcomes hat could happen. Although, that being said, I would not think that the Tories would be too eager to call an election in the near future, given their standing in the polls. Local council results do not translate automatically into a national mandate.

  31. Vote 2011: Bad for Clegg, better for Cameron, OK for Miliband | Left Foot Forward

    […] meanwhile, made gains throughout England, making gains from the Conservatives in key marginals, including Gravesham, North Warwickshire, Lincoln, Telford and Wrekin, Thanet, and […]

  32. Will Straw

    Labour take control of Ipswich. Another example of the party picking up seats from the Tories: //bit.ly/mmYG8y

  33. Ian M

    RT @wdjstraw: Labour take control of Ipswich. Another example of the party picking up seats from the Tories: //bit.ly/mmYG8y

  34. Unite London&Eastern

    RT @wdjstraw: Labour take control of Ipswich. Another example of the party picking up seats from the Tories: //bit.ly/mmYG8y

  35. Anon E Mouse

    To win elections in this country the governing party needs to lose the election and the opposition (certainly since 1923) needs to be at least 10-15% ahead – a situation highly unlikely to arise whilst Ed Miliband leads the Labour party.

    The electorate in this country would not vote for him – the PLP and the Labour members didn’t why should the voters?

    What I meant was the Lib Dem’s throw their rattle out of the pram and walk. The Tories would win a general election hands down. Labour is bust remember – it owes £25million – it couldn’t afford an election.

    The Lib Dem’s at an election today would be destroyed and they know it. In four years time the economy will have turned around – despite Gordon Brown’s claims these things run in cycles and the Lib Dems (I believe) will be tactically voted in to keep coalition government.

    The fact is the Tories did really well last night and Labour should be miles ahead and they’re not.

    You need to get rid of Ed Miliband scandalousbill. You and I know it and so does everyone else reading this…

  36. Anon E Mouse

    And just to reinforce my point Labour have just lost Kirkcaldy to the SNP – the swing to the SNP is massive and to lose in Gordon Brown’s own heartland is a huge blow.

    But of course Labour activists will continue to read spin like this article and just not get it…

  37. Will Straw

    Massive Labour gain from the Tories in Gedling (up 23!). Another sign of Labour progress in England: //bit.ly/mmYG8y

  38. Will Straw

    Thanks for the comments. I just want to be absolutely clear that the results in Scotland are a disaster for Labour. It is also the case that Cameron’s vote holding up presents a serious challenge to Labour and makes the case as Sunny Hundal has blogged today to focus much more on the Tories than on the Lib Dems in future.

    But with some results still to come in, Labour has 750 gains in England and has taken control of 25 councils. It’s worth reiterating that this is the second greatest haul in 30 years and takes Labour back to the position in local government that it was in during the late Blair years. It also hit the challenge set last night by sceptics of Ed Miliband including Dan Hodges.

    That said, there is still much work to be done and Labour will need to continue to pick up councillors and councils in years to come. But it is not fanciful to claim that Ed Miliband has taken the first steps today to becoming leader of the largest party in a hung parliament at the next election. Now let’s be clear, that’s not good enough and he will need to raise his game if he wants to win the prize that eluded Cameron. But in England and Wales, at least, today was a step forward for Labour.

  39. Anon E Mouse

    Will Straw – “The prize that eluded Cameron”?

    When I last looked Cameron was Prime Minister. Speak to your dad or anyone else in the PLP because they know…

    Ed Miliband is a liability – he’s the elephant in the room and you know it and whilst I admire loyalty I have to criticise stupidity and to continue to support that loser is just that.

    To lose in Scotland and AV and for the Tories to gain 50 council seats and 4 councils in the face of these cuts and get more people to vote for them than for Labour is nothing more than an unmitigated disaster.

    Delusional responses from Labour supporters does the party no favours Will Straw and you reallly need to get a grip or Labour are doomed to opposition…

  40. Mr. Sensible

    Will, my own area of Broxtowe is a case in point; the Tories took it by a narrow margin last May, but now Labour are only 1 seat behind the Conservatives on the Borough Council.

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