Local Election Results: Sir John Curtice's Party-By-Party Analysis

3 May 2019, 09:23 | Updated: 3 May 2019, 10:18

Sir John Curtice told LBC that last night's local elections were good for the Liberal Demcrats and the Green Party and bad for the Conservatives and Labour. Here is his party-by-party summary.

The Conservatives and Labour both faced a backlash over Brexit in the English local elections. The Tories have shed more than 400 councillors so far, losing control of 16 local authorities overnight including Peterborough, Chelmsford and Broxtowe.

Labour have also struggled overnight, particularly in the north of England. They've lost local authorities in Wirral, Hartlepool and Bolsover - and the mayoralty in Middlesbrough.

Sir John Curtice on LBC
Sir John Curtice on LBC. Picture: LBC


"There is a Brexit backlash, but not necessarily the one we were anticipating. We were widely anticipating that maybe the Conservatives would suffer a Brexit backlash and that this would be particularly in evidence where Ukip were standing.

"While Ukip were certainly doing better than they were in last year's local elections, though still not as well as 2015. But we discovered that when Ukip did well, Labour suffered as well as the Conservatives."


"Both Conservatives and Labour were well down on where they were 12 months ago, both parties have lost significant support. These local elections show the Brexit impasse has been pretty much as damaging to Labour as to the Conservatives.

"Labour has been losing ground among both Leave AND Remain voters. The problem with fudge is that it can be a bit too sickly and end up satisfying nobody."

Liberal Democrats

"For the Liberal Democrats, it's not dramatic - they're still not as high as they were before they entered the coalition in 2010, but certainly even better than last year.

"And crucially showing signs of advancing in the places where they're actually able to convert votes into seats, places where they already had some strength, where they were starting up in second place."

Green Party

"The Greens also putting in one of their best performances ever in local elections, perhaps helped by the recent climate change things. But also I think, frankly, taking votes off Labour."

Independent Candidates

"One of the most unexpected results and showing the extent to which this vote was an anti-politics, anti-establishment mood is that the number of independent councillors has gone up substantially. Gains of about 200, typically getting about 25% of the vote.

"Voters could take the chance for a credible local independent candidate, to leave the party system party behind entirely and they seem to have been extraordinarily ready to do so."

The Brexit Party

"The Brexit Party and Change UK were not on the ballot paper yesterday, but in the absence of the new kids on the block - them and , we've seen a substantial fragmentation of the political system yesterday. This must suggest that, unless something dramatic happens, that we could see more fragmentation in the European elections.

"Last night, many an upset Leave voter had nowhere to go. They couldn't vote for Ukip or Nigel Farage because they weren't on the ballot paper. They will be for the European elections later this month."

Change UK

"It will be interesting to see whether or not Change UK can pose a challenge in the European elections. It's not obvious that the Liberal Democrat success was particularly based on the support of Remain voters, they were frankly succeeding across the piece and probably was as much a protest vote as a pro-EU referendum vote.

"But then a party with the title Change UK, the Independent Group we might have learned actually has perhaps chosen a rather useful name to profit from the disenchantment of the two major parties."

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