The key Midlands battleground for the general election saw some encouraging results for Labour in the local elections last night.
The key Midlands battleground for the general election saw some encouraging results for Labour in the local elections last night. Labour swept back to power in Birmingham with a huge majority ending eight years of Conservative-Liberal Democrat rule in Europe’s largest city council.
Labour took more than half of Birmingham’s votes to achieve a majority of 25 seats. Eleven seats were won from the Tories and nine from the Lib-Dems. The victory illustrates Labour can take on both coalition partners in a major city and beat them.
This better than expected result comes against the backdrop of a day of incessant rain and a low voter turnout that was as low as 16 per cent in some wards, which caused anxiety among local Labour leaders.
However, worries were unfounded and the victory even included Sutton Vesey ward in prosperous Sutton Coldfield – the first time Labour has won there in living memory.
The Birmingham win was one of a series across the Midlands including an unexpected one in Dudley where Labour won 13 wards from the Tories and one from UKIP. The Conservatives also lost six wards in Sandwell, four in Wyre Forest, three in Walsall and one in Cannock Chase.
• Vote 2012: The Expectations Game 3 May 2012
Mayoral proposals in Nottingham and Coventry were rejected by sizeable majorities with Birmingham expected to follow suit when counting starts later today. The expected failure of the Birmingham mayoral ‘Yes’ campaign will be a blow to a few Labour big beasts including Liam Byrne, Gisela Stuart and Sion Simon.
This result will cement the position of former Birmingham council leader Sir Albert Bore who takes over from current, discredited leader Mike Whitby.
Bore announced the new Labour administration would centre policy on job creation in Birmingham, more affordable housing and improving the city’s most deprived wards, which are clustered around the city centre and have long been neglected.