- Labour’s Sadiq Khan has been elected mayor of London, decisively beating his Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith after what was seen as one of the most rancorous British electoral contests in recent years. Even before Khan’s victory was formally announced many senior Tories criticised Goldsmith for his tactics, which involved trying to associate Khan with extremism by focusing on Islamists he has shared platforms with in the past. Khan, the Muslim son of an immigrant bus driver who has denounced Islamist extremism, used his victory speech to praise London for resisting Goldsmith’s scaremongering. He said:
This election was not without controversy and I’m so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear and unity over division. I hope that we will never be offered such a stark choice again. Fear does not make us safer, it only makes us weaker, and the politics of fear is simply not welcome in our city.
Khan has now become arguably the most powerful Muslim to hold elected office in Europe and his victory has made the headlines all around the world. It is also given Labour a strong victory to celebrate at the end of an election that has seen the party suffer dire defeat in Scotland, and make only the most modest progress (in share of the vote terms) in England.
That’s all from me.
Thanks for the comments (before we turned them off.)
The Greens’ mayoral candidate, Sian Berry, came third, with 150,673 votes, ahead of the Lib Dems’ Caroline Pidgeon, who got 120,005. The Greens say it is the best result they have had in London. Berry said:
Today is a victory for the politics of bringing Londoners together not dividing them. I’m proud that Londoners have voted for good, positive ideas in such numbers. In every vote Greens have cemented our position as the number three party in London, coming third in the vote for mayor, on the Londonwide list and in a majority of constituencies. The immediate priority for Greens on the London assembly now will be to push the new mayor to make the right decisions on road-building and estate demolitions and to clean up our city’s filthy air.
This is from the Times’s Patrick Kidd.
This is from YouGov’s Joe Twyman.
And this is from the Economist’s Jeremy Cliffe.
Here is a Guardian video profile of the new London mayor.
Zac Goldsmith is speaking now.
He thanks his campaign team, everyone who contributed to the election and Londoners who voted for him.
He congratulates Khan and wishes him well.
Khan says he is proud London chose 'hope over fear'
Sadiq Khan is speaking now.
He says thank you, London. It is the greatest city in the world. He feels humbled.
When he grew up he never thought he could be mayor.
He says he wants every Londoner to have the opportunities London gave to him, not just to survive, but to thrive.
He wants to give Londoners the chance to have a home, and better jobs, and cleaner air.
He says he has been thinking a lot about his late father. He would have been so proud, he says.
He thanks his “amazing mum”, his wife, his daughters, and everyone who worked on his campaign.
And he wants to thank the other campaigns and candidates too.
He says this election was not without controversy. But he is so proud London has chosen “hope over fear, and unity over division”.
He says he hopes London never sees a campaign like this again.
And here are the final votes, once second preferences from the minor candidates were taken into account.
Sadiq Khan - 1,310,143
Zac Goldsmith - 994,614
Here are the votes for Goldsmith and Khan in the first round.
Zac Goldsmith - 909,755
Sadiq Khan - 1,148,716
London mayoral results announcement
It’s finally happening.
The mayoral announcement is due very soon, I’m told.
According to the Sunday Times’s James Lyons, Sadiq Khan’s victory party is going well.
Here is the announcement of the London-wide assembly results:
The new Womens’ Equality party secured 91,772 votes in the poll for London-wide assembly members, more than double George Galloway’s Respect party.
“We knew [we would do well] because we’ve been out on the doorstep,” said party co-founder Sandi Toksvig of the party’s first election.
“We have proved this is the fastest growing political party in the country and thousands of men were man enough to vote for us too. This is just the beginning.”
What has changed in the London assembly is that the Conservatives have lost one seat, the Lib Dems have lost one seat, and Ukip have gained two.
Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, has been congratulating his candidates.
The two outgoing Green members of the London assembly have been tweeting about their departure.
And here is a list of all the members elected to the London assembly:
Tony Arbour (C, South West)
Jennette Arnold (Lab, North East)
Gareth Bacon (C, Bexley & Bromley)
Leonie Cooper (Lab, Merton & Wandsworth)
Unmesh Desai (Lab, City & East)
Tony Devenish (C, West Central)
Andrew Dismore (Lab, Barnet & Camden)
Len Duvall (Lab, Greenwich & Lewisham)
Florence Eshalomi (Lab, Lambeth & Southwark)
Joanne McCartney (Lab, Enfield & Haringey)
Steve O’Connell (C, Croydon & Sutton)
Keith Prince (C, Havering & Redbridge)
Onkar Sahota (Lab, Ealing & Hillingdon)
Navin Shah (Lab, Brent & Harrow)
Kemi Badenoch (C)
Shaun Bailey (C)
Sian Berry (Green)
Andrew Boff (C)
Tom Copley (Lab)
Nicky Gavron (Lab)
David Kurten (Ukip)
Caroline Pidgeon (LD)
Caroline Russell (Green)
Fiona Twycross (Lab)
Peter Whittle (Ukip)
London assembly results
The full London assembly results are here.
And here is the full composition of the London assembly.
Labour - 12
Conservatives - 8
Greens - 2
Ukip - 2
Lib Dems - 1
The Women’s Equality party says it got 3.5% of the vote in the London list.
Boris Johnson will remain as London mayor until the end of Sunday if the election result is delayed until Saturday, due to the need for there to be one full day between the transition, the Press Association reports.
If the result is announced on Friday evening, Johnson’s successor, Sadiq Khan, will officially take control of the role on Sunday.
My colleague Jon Henley has written an interesting article looking at how Sadiq Khan’s election (or imminent election - at least, we hope it’s imminent) is viewed around the world. Here is how it starts:
In London, the religion of the Labour candidate for the city’s mayor became an issue only when his Conservative opponent made it one, by attempting to link his rival to Islamist extremism in a campaign criticised as divisive and racist.
Abroad, however, it seems the faith and family background of Sadiq Khan is seen through a somewhat different prism: in much foreign media coverage of the elections, it was more important than his politics.
Labour MPs are also arguing about who is to blame for the plight of the party in Scotland.
Richard Burgon, a pro-Corbyn MP, claimed on Twitter that New Labour was the culprit.
But Jamie Reed, who is on the right of the parliamentary party, mocked this argument.
As did the Blairite Ben Bradshaw.
There is a debate going on within Labour as to whether Sadiq Khan has won in London because of Jeremy Corbyn, or in spite of Corbyn.
On Thursday Diane Abbott, the shadow international development secretary, said Corbyn was a positive factor. She said that in the capital “more people have heard of Jeremy than have heard of Sadiq. In London, it’s all about Jeremy.”
But on Newsnight just now, Lord Falconer, the shadow justice secretary, played down Corbyn’s influence. He said that in mayoral contests in London have always been won by strong characters who are seen as relatively independent. On top of that, London is now a predominantly Labour city, he argued. He said that it was those two factors that explained Khan’s success, more than enthusiasm for Corbyn.
With the 2016 elections almost (but, of course, not quite) over, attention is focusing again on the other great electoral battle: the EU referendum. The Telegraph has got an interview with the pro-Brexit justice secretary, Michael Gove, and he is using it to say that David Cameron should remain as prime minister if the UK votes to leave the EU, but that he would have to “instantly” enact new laws to stop the influence of “rogue” European courts and allow the immediate deportation of terrorists.
Gove also rules out ever standing for the Conservative leadership himself:
I don’t want to do it and there are people who are far better equipped than me to do it.
London is not the only place where the election counting isn’t over. Here, from the Press Association, is the latest summary of the state of play from Northern Ireland.
With 54 seats filled out of 108 in the Northern Ireland election, the
party seats are:
Ashcroft says Goldsmith's campaign was 'awful'
Lord Ashcroft, the former Conservative deputy chairman, has also criticised Zac Goldsmith’s campaign.
According to Huffington Post’s Owen Bennett, there is no sign of Jeremy Corbyn yet at Sadiq Khan’s victory party.
It was reported earlier this week that Khan did not want Corbyn there, but Khan said on Wednesday that that was not true.
Here is the Guardian’s splash:
Here is the official announcement about the delay in the declaration:
A huge groan goes up in the media centre at City Hall. An announcement reveals that the delay in the final result is due to “a small discrepancy in the mayoral numbers” and that the count officials are working to rectify that in conjunction with the Electoral Commission. It means they are “working towards a declaration at midnight”.
Bad news from the City Hall count.
Sajid Javid congratulates Khan as 'one son of a Pakistani bus driver to another'
Sajid Javid, the Conservative business secretary, has put out a personal tweet offering Sadiq Khan congratulations.
Khan has a rather good joke about how you wait for ages for the son of a Pakistani bus driver to get to the top of British politics, and then two turn up at the same time.
More seriously, Khan spoke passionately in an interview earlier this week about how he was glad to see people like Javid in a Tory cabinet because it showed parties were competing for minority votes.
Still no word from City Hall as to when we will get the London mayoral announcement.
The Evening Standard’s Pippa Crerar says Sadiq Khan has been getting some sleep. (Lucky man.)
I’m afraid we have had to close comments on the blog. Sorry about that. It is because the volume of comments has been huge and we do not have enough moderating capacity on a Friday night to cope.
Steve Hilton says Goldsmith has brought 'nasty party' label back to Tory politics
Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s former head of strategy, has told BBC Newsnight that the election of Sadiq Khan is “great news” and “a very positive and powerful message about London”.
And he was scathing about Zac Goldsmith’s campaign, saying that Goldsmith was bringing the “nasty party” label back to Tory politics. Hilton played a major role, with Cameron, in trying to rid the party of that image before the 2010 election.
Hilton told Newsnight:
The overall impression I got from Zac’s campaign was a rather old-fashioned and frankly uninspiring campaign which I was really surprised about because Zac, who I know pretty well, is actually a really interesting, thoughtful, somewhat anti-establishment character in politics, and he’s got a very interesting set of views of different kinds on different issues, and it seemed to me that none of that was conveyed in his campaign which to be honest I found really weird.
At the very least it’s rather careless to allow your campaign to be characterised in that way, and it’s rather amazing that of all people it’s Zac Goldsmith who ends up, if you like, bringing back the nasty party label to the Conservative party.
I’m not in a position to judge whether it’s fair or not but I’ve been involved in campaigns and you have to be careful to make sure that what you say and do can’t be misrepresented in ways that are fundamentally unhelpful. Of course your opponents are going to say things you don’t agree with and try and distort what you do and so on, that’s part of a campaign. But I think the way this particular accusation has been allowed to stick, even if that’s unfair, shows that there was something there that at the very least was careless, and I think long-term could be pretty damaging.
This is from the BBC’s Susana Mendonca.
French prime minister Manuel Valls congratulates Khan
The French prime minister Manuel Valls congratulates Sadiq Khan on being elected mayor of London. Valls, of course, is a socialist.
(I wish he had been elected mayor of London. Some of us are keen to get home.)
The DUP and Sinn Féin are still on course to be the largest parties. On 19 seats the DUP are well on their way to being the single biggest political force in the assembly while Sinn Féin have already elected 10 including the party’s national chairman Declan Kearney.
But the shocks in individual constituencies have been seismic, particularly in West Belfast where it looks like Sinn Féin will lose a seat thanks to the amazing performance of People Before Profit candidate Gerry Carroll. He actually increased his 7,000 vote tally in West Belfast in the Westminster election last year to more than 8,000 and was elected thousands of votes ahead of the quota. In many ways the leftwing socialist candidate is the story of the election in Northern Ireland.
Here’s my colleague Anushka Asthana’s take on the elections from earlier.
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has paid tribute to Sadiq Khan.
Bristol's independent mayor George Ferguson says Labour on course to beat him
Labour seems on course to win the Bristol mayoral election, the Press Association reports.
The Labour Party may have won the Bristol mayoral election after the independent incumbent appeared to concede defeat.
Although the result will not be declared until Saturday, George Ferguson suggested he may not win against a groundswell of support for Labour’s Marvin Rees.
Ferguson, who is well known for wearing red trousers, was first elected to be Bristol’s mayor four years ago - beating Mr Rees.
But with Bristol’s first all-out council election and Labour’s candidate for the Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner (PCC) achieving a very good second place, it suggests Rees may well have won the mayoralty.
Ferguson tweeted: “A big thanks to all who helped bristol-1st campaign. Without big party resources we’ve done our best for Bristol!
According to the Sun’s Harry Cole, the Conservatives have made seven gains in police and crime commissioner elections.
This is from my colleague Dave Hill.
Scott Redding tells me Calgary in Canada also has a Muslim mayor.
Someone BTL was asking about the turnout figures for police and crime commissioner elections. I’ve been having a quick look at some of the figures and they are low - but comfortably higher than the average 15% turnout achieved when the first PCC elections took place in 2012. Those contests were in November, which partly explained why so few people voted. The government timed these elections to coincide with the council elections to improve turnout.
Here are turnout figures for three of the contests, chosen at random.
Devon and Cornwall - 22%
Hampshire - 28%
Bedfordshire - 23%
Jo Cox and Neil Coyle were two of the Labour MPs who took to the airwaves overnight to express concern about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. But they both nominated him in last year’s contest. In a joint Guardian article, they say they now regret that decision, and fear that poor leadership could keep the party out of power for a decade or more.
When the voters tell us on the doorsteps that they can’t picture our leader in No 10 we have to listen. When our candidates in London and Wales ask the leader to stay away, we have a problem. When the revival we were promised in Scotland with Corbyn’s “new” politics proves to be a mirage, we have to ask what it has actually achieved.
This is from my colleague Dave Hill on the London turnout.
The elections expert Stephen Fisher has posted a blog explaining in detail why it was that the SNP lost its majority in Scotland. He says “it does look like there was some anti-SNP tactical voting going on in some of the seats that the Tories and Lib Dems won.”
Jemima Goldsmith says she's 'sad' her brother's campaign did not reflect his true nature
Jemima Goldsmith, Zac’s sister, has used Twitter to congratulate Sadiq Khan - and to criticise her brother’s campaign. She said that she was “sad” that it did not reflect her brother’s true character.
BuzzFeed’s Jim Waterson has been in touch to say that since he posted his tweet (see 5.59pm) he has now found a Tory prepared to defend Zac Goldsmith’s campaign. She is Kemi Badenoch, a Conservative member of the London assembly. She told:
The narrative of this being a dog whistle campaign is from his enemies. There’s nothing [Zac] said that wasn’t true and there’s so much else that he said about TfL and investment and it just seemed to fly over people’s heads.
Bill de Blasio, the Democratic and leftish mayor of New York, has congratulated Sadiq Khan on his victory in London.
Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, has also congratulated Sadiq Khan. They are close allies; Khan ran Miliband’s leadership campaign.
Labour is claiming victory in London. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has congratulated Sadiq Khan on his victory.
Former Tory chair Lady Warsi attacks Goldsmith's 'appalling dog whistle campaign'
Lady Warsi, the former Conservative party chairman, has joined those in her party attacking Zac Goldsmith’s divisive and racially charged campaign against Sadiq Khan. She says the “appalling dog whistle campaign” cost the party the election and its credibility on race issues.
Interestingly, she attacks Goldsmith (and presumably CCHQ’s decision to endorse the campaign – David Cameron was quite happy to use PMQs to amplify Goldsmith’s anti-Khan attack lines) by invoking Margaret Thatcher, claiming the Goldsmith campaign betrayed the spirit of Thatcher’s St Francis of Assisi remarks.
(In truth, Thatcher herself was not particularly good at living up to her ‘may we bring harmony’ pledge.)
Sadiq Khan is planning to stand down as MP for Tooting following his election as London mayor.
As the BBC’s Lewis Goodall points out, that means an interesting byelection is in the offing.
All 14 first-past-the-post seats in the London assembly have now been counted. Labour won nine of them (one gain from 2012, Merton & Wandsworth, from the Conservatives), and the Conservatives won five (down one).
The share of the vote in these seats was:
Labour: 43.5% - up 1.3%
Conservatives: 31.1% - down 1.6%
Greens: 9.1% - up 0.5%
Ukip: 7.6% - up 3.3%
Lib Dems: 7.5% - down 1.3%
With 31 police and commissioners now elected, the current line-up is:
Conservatives - 17
Labour - 11
Independent - 3
Here is Sadiq Khan arriving at City Hall earlier.
This is from the BBC’s Susana Mendonca.
Sky’s political editor Faisal Islam is also saying Sadiq Khan has now definitely won the London mayoral contest.
Here is a list of people who have been already elected to the Northern Ireland assembly. Counting is still going on.
David Hilditch - DUP
Paul Girvan - DUP
Joanne Bunting - DUP
Naomi Long - Alliance
Gerry Kelly - SF
Mairtin O Muilleoir - SF
Gerry Carroll - People
Alex Maskey - SF
Gordon Dunne - DUP
Alex Easton - DUP
Jim Wells - DUP
FERMANAGH & SOUTH TYRONE
Arlene Foster - DUP
Lord Maurice Morrow - DUP
Maurice Bradley - DUP
NEWRY & ARMAGH
Cathal Boylan - SF
Megan Fearon - SF
William Irwin - DUP
Michelle McIlveen - DUP
Mike Nesbitt - UUP
Linda Dillon - SF
Patsy McGlone - SDLP
Ian Milne - SF
Michelle O’Neill - SF
Carla Lockhart - DUP
The turnout in London for the assembly elections has been 45.6% - up 7.6% on 2012.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has said the elections have been a “remarkable success” for Labour.
I think we’ve had a remarkable success.
Pundits were predicting we’d be losing hundreds of seats and we haven’t, in fact we have gained many.
We’ve held on to councils we’ve targeted. It looks as though we’re going to take London, we’re going to take GLA (Greater London Authority) seats as well. So, no, overall I think the record’s been impressive.
But he did say that the result in Scotland was “sad” and that it would take the party “years to recover” there.
Unison leader Dave Prentis says Corbyn's Labour critics should 'back off'
Like his fellow union leader Tim Roache (see 5.58pm) Dave Prentis, the Unison general secretary, wants Labour MPs to rally behind Jeremy Corbyn.
This has been a tough night for Labour - especially in Scotland, but the results are at least better than many had predicted.
Labour now has to get back to focusing on the issues that matter to working people, and on getting rid of this government at the next general election.
Public sector workers aren’t interested in Labour politicians bickering in TV studios or in those who think that politics is a game. The baying hounds from across the party must now back off.
Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster has expressed confidence she will be returned as Northern Ireland’s first minister. As the votes continue to be counted across Northern Ireland, Foster said her party was on course to again emerge as the region’s largest party.
I am confident that I will be the first minister of Northern Ireland,” she said after topping the poll in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
The former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has paid tribute to Kirsty Williams following her decision to stand down as the party’s leader in Wales.
BuzzFeed’s Jim Waterson says he is finding it hard to find any Tories at City Hall willing to defend Zac Goldsmith’s campaign.
GMB leader says Corbyn has a year or so to show Labour can do better
Tim Roache, the general secretary of the GMB, has said that Labour “should be winning hundreds of seats” at this stage in the electoral cycle. But he said Jeremy Corbyn’s critics should give Corbyn a year or so to show the party can do better. Roache told the BBC:
We’re at the stage when we should be winning hundreds of seats. But I don’t think that’s just about Corbyn you know. People won’t vote for a divided Labour party. Therefore those on the right of the party - or place them where you like - who are pushing against Corbyn, I don’t think they’re doing themselves a service, they’re certainly not doing the party a service and most importantly, from the GMB union perspective, they’re not doing working people a service at all. It’s about time they rallied behind Corbyn. And let’s give it a go.
Let’s give it a go for a year or so. Who knows what might happen. Leicester City won the Premier League only the other day. Who knows.
Here’s my colleague Dave Hill on the London contest.
LBC are saying Sadiq Khan is now definitely the next mayor of London.
Here’s the Guardian’s Politics Weekly podcast, with Severin Carrell, Anne Perkins, Martin Kettle and Tom Clark discussing the elections.
The BBC is saying we will get the London mayoral result at around 7 or 8pm, although colleagues at the count think it could come much earlier.
Earlier we quoted the academic Tony Travers saying that Sadiq Khan would be “the first Muslim mayor of a major western city, certainly in Europe”.
But my colleague points out that the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, is a Muslim, so that may be unfair on Rotterdam.
Here is Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive at the Local Government Information Unit, complaining about the BBC’s projection for what the local elections would mean if translated into a general election result. (See 3.55pm.)
His point is that journalists should be able to recognise that these results are interesting in their own right, and not just for what they have to say (or don’t have to say) about Westminster politics.
Here are some more police and crime commissioner elections results.
Labour candidates elected
Lord Willy Bach - Leicestershire
David Jamieson - West Midlands
Jane Kennedy - Merseyside
Alan Billings - South Yorkshire
Barry Coppinger - Cleveland
Ron Hogg - Durham
Conservative candidates elected
Tim Passmore - Suffolk
David Lloyd - Hertfordshire
Katy Bourne - Sussex
Matthew Ellis - Staffordshire
Stephen Mold - Northamptonshire
Anthony Stansfeld - Thames Valley
Peter McCall - Cumbria
Matthew Scott - Kent
Philip Seccombe - Warwickshire
John-Paul Campion - West Mercia
Independent candidates elected
Martin Surl - Gloucestershire
Martyn Underhill - Dorset
Kirsty Williams resigns as leader of Welsh Lib Dems
Kirsty Williams has resigned as leader of the Lib Dems in Wales, Sky reports.
Labour MPs in the Midlands have been voicing discontent with the party’s performance in the region, with one suggesting Jeremy Corbyn should step down as leader.
Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, told the Birmingham Mail that the party had to end its internal battles and “start listening to the people we seek to represent”.
“Where we have already been doing quite well, and Birmingham is a good example, we have continued in that vein,” he added.
“But if you are thinking about where Labour needs to start winning in order to be general election winners, there is no evidence we are making headway in the areas where we have to reach beyond our current base, and that is a problem for us.”
Walsall North Labour MP David Winnick went even further however, suggesting that Corbyn should consider resigning for the good of the party.
He told the Press Association: “The party faces a crisis and the onus is on Jeremy himself. He should decide whether his leadership is helping or hindering the party. I think all the evidence shows that it is not helping.”
Wolverhampton MP Emma Reynolds, who resigned from the shadow cabinet after Corbyn became leader, said earlier that Labour should not be content with “standing still” at a time when the Tories are in “disarray”.
The Labour peer George Foulkes thinks the media are to blame for the fact that Ken Livingstone keeps banging on about Hitler on TV.
Here is an extract from the Lib Dems’ afternoon briefing about the elections
The task of turning things around after last year is gargantuan, but it’s under way. We have taken control of Watford where we have wiped out the Conservatives, making us the only party to gain a council so far. The BBC national projection gives us 15% of the vote – virtually double our percentage share in 2015, and better than the last three years. In 2010 we lost 411 council seats – by mid-afternoon the BBC said we had made 30 seat gains, more than any other party. We are also the only party so far to have gained a council.
This is not entirely accurate. The Lib Dem GB national share of the vote in the 2015 general election was 8% (almost half 15%), but its projected national share for the 2015 local elections (the relevant figure for comparison purposes) was 11%. That’s because the Lib Dems tend to do better in local elections than in national elections.
Andrew Boff, the former Conservative leader in the London assembly, has renewed his criticism of Zac Goldsmith’s campaign. He says he is certain the campaign cost the party votes, particularly second preferences.
I hope we don’t do this stupid thing again by trying to bring Sadiq [Khan] down by saying he is an extremist. He is not an extremist. He went out and engaged with people with orthodox religious views. Dialogue is not assisted by shutting people out.
In London the Tories have held West Central. Earlier, by mistake, we said Labour had held it. Sorry.
There were few big upsets in the north of England’s town halls. Labour held on to all of its northern councils and its two directly elected mayors in Liverpool and Salford. But it failed to make serious gains from the Tories in target seats.
In marginal councils, such as Calderdale in West Yorkshire and Pendle in east Lancashire, Labour lost ground to the Tories. Labour’s complete grip over Manchester also came to an end with the former Liberal Democrat MP John Leech becoming a one-man opposition to the Labour hegemony. The Lib Dems also made two gains in both Hull and Liverpool.
Elsewhere in Greater Manchester a Labour councillor in Bury blamed Ken Livingstone for two Labour colleagues losing their seats in a heavily Jewish populated ward. Alan Quinn told the Manchester Evening News his party had lost two “hard-working and proud” councillors in Prestwich because of a “backlash against the Labour party”. Stockport remains in no overall control, despite Labour becoming the biggest party after unseating the Lib Dem council leader, Sue Derbyshire.
In Carlisle, another target marginal Labour failed to win from the Tories in last year’s general election, the party lost one seat to an independent but remains the largest political grouping.
But in Bradford, Labour gained three seats. There are now no councillors for George Galloway’s Respect party in the West Yorkshire city: of the five elected in the so-called Bradford Spring of 2012, four did not seek re-election. The other, Mohammed Shabbir, defected to Labour but is currently suspended as part of the row about antisemitic posts on Facebook.
Martin McGuinness has topped the poll on first preference votes with 5,037. His two Sinn Féin running mates, Maeve McLaughlin and Raymond McCartney, got 3,062 and 3,198.
McGuinness is guaranteed a seat of course but the other interesting development in the Foyle constituency is the strong performance of the veteran civil rights campaigner Eamon McCann, who has come away with 4,176 first preferences.
Outside the declaration hall here in the brand new Foyle Arena leisure centre one of McCann’s supporters, the former civil rights icon and one time MP Bernadette McAliskey (formerly Devlin) spoke to one of her colleagues, stating: “We are on our way.”
The Democratic Unionist party, as predicted by the DUP MP Gregory Campbell, is on course to take a seat. Gary Middleton has taken 4,737 first preferences.
And there has been a political upset in West Belfast, the Sinn Féin heartland.
The leftwing People Before Profit candidate, Gerry Carroll, has topped the poll on first preference votes.
It is now possible – if Eamon McCann is elected in Derry – that we will have two Marxist assembly members on the opposition benches in the new Stormont parliament. Carroll was elected on the first count.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has said that Labour did well in these elections, and that Jeremy Corbyn’s critics should “put up or shut up”. Earlier he said:
I’ve been talking to Labour party members all over the country, they’re saying for those begrudgers – because that’s what they are – for goodness sake, get behind the leader of the Labour party that was democratically elected. It’s time to put up or shut up. I think most Labour party members are saying look, you’re damaging our campaign by the continuous carping.
I’ve never been in a situation where two days before a poll a group of them are talking to the media about a leadership coup – and yet we still do well. Look, get behind us and stop carping, there’s room for everyone in this Labour party. Everyone can make a constructive contribution. That’s what we expect them to do.
Chris Prosser, an academic who works with the British Election Study, thinks the local election results suggest Labour will lose the general election. He has developed a model for forecasting general election performance based on local election vote share which he says was successful in 2015, and he says there is a 92% probability the Tories will be the biggest party in 2020.
He explains it in a British Election Study blog here. Here is an excerpt.
Before the last election I developed a method for forecasting general election performance based on local election vote shares that takes these differences into account. The forecast uses local election vote share estimates and controls for party and incumbency differences in the relationship between local and general votes shares. It does not model the time until the next election because historically local elections four years before a general election are no better or worse predictors of future elections than those only one year before.
Although it was necessarily based on data that was at least years old by the time of the 2015 election the method performed remarkably well in 2015 – of the 12 academic forecasts submitted to a special symposium on forecasting the 2015 election my local elections method was the closest to the actual Conservative lead in the election and correctly forecasted that the Conservatives would win the most votes.
So what does my forecast tell us about what might happen in 2020? Using the PNS results my model predicts that the Conservatives will get 37% of the vote, Labour 30%, Liberal Democrats 11%, and Ukip 11%. Unsurprisingly given that the next general election is likely to be four years away there is a great deal of uncertainty in exact vote shares forecast, as illustrated in the figure below. Despite the uncertainty over the exact vote shares the forecast is very confident – with a 92% probability – that the Conservatives will be the largest party at the next general election.
In London Labour have gained Merton & Wandsworth from the Conservatives in the assembly.
Labour have held Lambeth & Southwark.
And the Conservatives have held West Central.
Labour’s Paddy Tipping has been re-elected as police and crime commissioner in Nottinghamshire.
Outgoing Tory deputy mayor of London says Goldsmith's campaign will leave 'negative legacy'
Roger Evans, who has been a Conservative deputy mayor of London under Boris Johnson for the last year, has joined those in his party criticising Zac Goldsmith’s campaign for the way it sought to depict Sadiq Khan as an extremist. Evans has told BuzzFeed:
I’m concerned that the campaign we’ve run is going to leave a negative legacy which we in London are going to have to clear up long after the people who ran Zac Goldsmith’s campaign have gone on their way.
I’ve been the deputy mayor for the last year and it’s been my job to go and talk to communities in London.
I’ve always been very pleased with the courtesy with which I was received and the hearing all communities were willing to give to a Conservative politician.
We’re going to have to do quite a lot of work to re-establish trust with a lot of communities in London. That’s a shame and an opportunity missed.
My colleague Gary Younge says the elections show that Jeremy Corbyn’s critics are wrong, and that he is viable as a leader.
Here’s an excerpt from his article.
One indication that Corbyn’s opponents in the party do not fully believe their own agenda is that talk of plotting a coup has receded following these elections, not escalated. His opponents had been hoping for a worse night.
There may well be a ceiling to how many people will vote for the party with him in charge – although we are a long way from finding out. But there clearly appears to be a floor to his ostensible “toxicity”. Put bluntly, a large number of Labour voters in England remain loyal to the party and will continue to vote for it with him at the helm.
To the extent that all these elections are a referendum on the wisdom or otherwise of electing Corbyn leader the only pertinent question is whether the party would have fared any better if any of the other candidates had been running the show. There’s nothing to suggest it would have done. Corbyn kept his head above water. Like the witch-hunters of yore, for now they will condemn him for that.
Labour’s Paul Dennett has been elected mayor in Salford.
The Lib Dems say they have won control of Watford. They were the biggest party, but it was under no overall control. But the Lib Dems have gained seven seats, taking them to 25. Labour lost one seat.
Khan 'has won without question', says Peter Kellner
Here is our latest story on the London race.
And it includes this quote from the pollster Peter Kellner.
With almost 80% of first-preference votes counted, Sadiq has won without question. He is well ahead on the first count and that’s not going to change radically.
Tories would be largest party in a hung parliament on basis of these results, BBC says
The BBC has broadcast figures showing a projection for what the House of Commons would look like if Britain voted in a general election today as it did in the local elections. Here are the figures.
Lib Dems: 19
Given that Labour are ahead of the Tories on projected national share of the vote (see 2.43pm), you may wonder why the Tories would be so far ahead.
The explanation lies in the fact that currently the election system favours the Conservatives. They need fewer votes to win a seat in the Commons than Labour do. The system used to favour Labour, but underlying “bias” (if you can call it that) has changed.
There are two key reasons for that. First, the collapse of Labour in Scotland means that, in a general election, they “waste” lots of votes there in seats they do not win.
And, second, the collapse of the Lib Dems has helped the Tories. Previously the Tories used to “waste” a lot of vote in seats won by the Lib Dems, especially in the south west. But in 2015 the Lib Dems were wiped out in the south west, and almost everywhere else.
Tony Travers says Tory campaign in London probably backfired
Prof Tony Travers, the London School of Economics professor and a sagacious commentator on London politics, has arrived at City Hall to shed light on the numbers as a Sadiq Khan victory looms. He’s interested in Khan being “the first Muslim mayor of a major western city, certainly in Europe” and what that says about London voters and Goldsmith’s campaign.
He points out that with London having a 13% Muslim population, and a disproportionate number of them below voting age, if Khan gets 40%, then he must have a majority of non-Muslims among his supporters, “which might surprise some international observers”.
Even if it comes across as quite self-satisfied, cosmopolitan London will be reflecting on this result that London is capable of putting race, religion and identity to one side. This is concrete evidence of that.
Of Goldsmith’s campaign which was widely seen as “dog-whistling” about Khan’s religion, he said:
For every one vote it gained it probably lost one or two. The Conservatives will have to have a postmortem. They would have been better hacking away at Jeremy Corbyn day and night as a strategy.
My colleague John Harris was at the Plymouth count last night. Here is his Anywhere but Westminster video about the election there.
In London the Tories have held the Bexley & Bromley seat in the London assembly. But their share of the vote was down seven points. Ukip are up 10 points.
Here is a Guardian clip of Ken Livingstone earlier defending his comments last week about Hitler.
Sadiq Khan 'will win London', BBC says
John Curtice on the BBC says it is now “pretty clear” that Sadiq Khan will win in London.
Ken Livingstone, Labour’s former mayor of London, is on the BBC’s election programme and – yes, you’ve guessed it – he’s brought up Hitler again. To be fair, Jo Coburn, the presenter, asked him about last week’s row, and whether Livingstone’s comments damaged Sadiq Khan’s campaign in London. The tactful thing would have been to draw a line under the whole affair. But Livingstone said Khan could be forgiven for knowing little about this because he was just a boy when the Marxist Lenni Brenner published his book on the relationship between Zionism and Nazism. And then he was off on a Hitler history lecture …
Here is the New Statesman’s George Eaton on the exchanges.
Kezia Dugdale, Labour’s leader in Scotland, has sent an email to party members saying the party will keep fighting for its values.
We could have fought an election that was about the arguments of two years ago but we chose to stand up for what we believe in. We will keep standing for our belief that we can choose to be better than this. Despite the disappointment of the final results, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens stood with us. I’ll keep fighting for our values.
Jon Trickett, the shadow communities secretary and Labour’s local elections coordinator, told the World at One earlier that he did not agree with Ian Murray about Labour not being seen as a credible party of government under Jeremy Corbyn. (See 2.19pm.) Trickett said:
No, I don’t agree with that. We are a credible party, but it takes time to lay out a new direction.
The truth is, there is a lot of work to do, and if Ian Murray is suggesting there is more work to do to establish Labour’s credibility on the economy, on jobs, on the cuts which have been experienced, on debt, and all the rest of it, well I think there is some more work to be done.
On the question of credibility, we have set out a clear economic programme now. There is more to do. We will, over the whole course of this parliament, lay out a credible programme to change this country.
Government abandons plans to force all schools to become academies
While the news is dominated by the elections, the government has chosen this afternoon to announce a major U-turn over its plans to force schools to become academies. Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, is saying that schools that are good or outstanding will not be forced to become academies.
This is not just a moderate concession; essentially the government is dropping its core proposal. It is doing so because many Tory MPs and Tory councils objected to the plans, as Jeremy Corbyn successfully pointed out at PMQs two weeks ago. And it is announcing it this afternoon because, as the Labour aide Jo Moore once said, it’s “a good day to bury bad news”.
Police forces going to court to ensure possible prosecution of Tories over alleged election overspending can go ahead
Turning away from the elections for a moment, the BBC’s Daniel Sandford says at least three police forces are going to court to seek an extension of a time limit rule to allow the Tories to be taken to court for breaking election expenses rules if an investigation finds enough evidence to justify prosecution.
There is more on the background to this here.
David Cameron has called Nicola Sturgeon to congratulate her on winning the election in Scotland. A No 10 spokesman said:
The prime minister congratulated Ms Sturgeon on her party having the largest representation in the Scottish parliament and, in return, Ms Sturgeon congratulated the prime minister on the gains made in Scotland by his party.
The prime minister and Ms Sturgeon agreed that the UK and Scottish governments must continue to work together constructively, most crucially in the short term on the future of the steel industry.
It was noted that the two governments sharing information and experience could be of benefit to the steel industry across the UK and they agreed to keep in touch on this issue.
This is from the Guardian’s Dave Hill.
My colleague Robert Booth has sent me this from the count at City Hall.
There’s a lot of interest here at City Hall about the count in Barnet and Camden, which is looking like it could be a microcosm of Labour’s antisemitism row. At the moment with 74% of the first preference votes counted, electors in the north London areas are voting against Sadiq Khan in favour of Zac Goldsmith.
Is this a reflection of the views of the large Jewish population in this constituency on Labour’s handling of the row that saw the suspension of Naz Shah MP and Ken Livingstone? Peter Kellner, the former president of YouGov who is poring over the results here, thinks so. Although I would add that when I was up at the Alexandra Palace counting centre where the Barnet and Camden votes were being processed, they appeared to be counting the Conservative-leaning Barnet votes before the Labour-leaning Camden ones.
The Labour MP Graham Jones told the World at One that Labour should be doing much better in local elections. But he said he accepted that Jeremy Corbyn should be given more time to improve the party’s fortunes. He told the programme:
We should really be expecting to be above 40% and getting a good set of results, or we need to be. We have got to see progress.
I think Jeremy will be given a pass on this one because he has only had the job for eight months.
Of course, next year he will have had another 12 months and I think he will be seen more critically because he will have had more time.
Speaking from the steps of the first minister’s official residence, Bute House, in Edinburgh a few minutes ago Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, insisted that the election results had been “emphatic”.
We won a clear and unequivocal mandate and I secured the personal mandate I sought to implement the bold and ambitious programme for government I asked this country to vote for.
She confirmed that she would be asking the Scottish parliament to formally re-elect her as first minister of Scotland. She added:
With such a large group of SNP MSPs elected, I don’t intend to seek any formal arrangements with any other parties. However, the government I lead will be an inclusive government. It will be firm on our determination to deliver on the commitments we made to the Scottish people but it will also reach out to others across the parliament to find common ground and build consensus.
Sturgeon said education remained “my passion and priority” and she was pleased that all parties’ manifestos had shown similar concerns. In an apparent nod to the Greens, who will be key players in the new Holyrood arrangement, she added that she wanted to seek agreement on tackling climate change.
The government I lead will reach out. We will govern with conviction, with ambition and with determination, but also with humility and a willingness to listen and to learn from the ideas of others.
And on the question of independence, the SNP will always make our case with passion, with patience and with respect. But our aim is to persuade, not to divide. We will always respect the opinion of the people now and in the future and we simply ask that other parties do likewise.
Labour 1 point ahead of Tories on projected national share
Here is more on the projected national share (PNS) figure produced by John Curtice for the BBC.
This is the estimate as to what share of the vote the parties would have got if the results of the English council elections had been replicated across the whole of Great Britain. It makes allowance for the fact that council elections are only held in certain areas. (Those areas are not representative of Britain as a whole, which is why the PNS is a more useful figure than the actual share of votes cast.)
Labour – 31%
This is two points up on 2015. (The PNS figure for 2015 is not the same as Labour’s GB share of the vote in the 2015 general election, 31%, because people voted differently in the local elections in 2015. Curtice explains this in more detail here.)
But it is seven points down on Labour’s PNS in 2012, when these seats were last fought.
Conservatives – 30%
This is five points down on the Tories’ PNS in 2015, but just one point down on 2012.
Lib Dems – 15%
This is four points up on the Lib Dems’ PNS in 2015, but one point down on their figure for 2012.
Ukip – 12%
This is one point down on Ukip’s PNS in 2015. Curtice did not produce a PNS figure for Ukip in 2012.
John Curtice, the psephologist is who is in charge of the BBC’s election analysis, is saying Sadiq Khan is on course to win in London with 57% of the vote.
It that turns out to be true, Khan will have won the biggest victory since Ken Livingstone in the first London mayoral election in 2000.
For the record, here are previous winning margins.
2000 - Ken Livingstone on 58%
2004 - Livingstone on 55%
2008 - Boris Johnson on 53%
2012 - Johnson on 51.5%
Political Betting’s Mike Smithson has the latest projected national share figures for the local elections from the BBC.
Shadow Scottish secretary says Labour under Corbyn is not seen as 'credible party of government'
Ian Murray, the shadow Scottish secretary and Labour’s only MP in Scotland, told the World at One that voters in Scotland did not see Labour under Jeremy Corbyn as a “credible party of future government”. He told the programme:
I don’t think that the public see the UK Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn at the moment as being a credible party of future government in 2020.
That’s something, after this week’s results, we should reflect on, the leadership of the party should reflect on - and find a way of finding a strategy and a narrative that changes the perception of the UK Labour party across the United Kingdom so that we can go on and have a real shot at winning in 2020.
Welsh Labour says it is pleased with its result
The Welsh Labour party has sent me its take on its performance in Wales. Here are some extracts.
We are very pleased with today’s results. We have said consistently that this would be the toughest assembly election we’ve ever faced – and yet we beat the Tories in every battleground seat. We also beat Plaid in their number one target seat of Llanelli, and the Libs in their number one target seat of Cardiff Central.
No poll in the last six months suggested that we could achieve 29 seats, and so we defied the odds to deliver this result.
We are obviously disappointed with the loss of the Rhondda, but it was a very particular set of circumstances, and Plaid seem to have made one shock gain at the expense of the rest of their campaign, where they failed to pick up any other seats – despite campaigning for a majority.
Reports that we are actively pursuing a coalition are incorrect. Carwyn Jones has said he will talk to Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats, but that does not constitute coalition talks. Parties in Wales routinely talk to one another, and there will need to be some level of support to pass budgets and legislation.
Welsh Labour has now achieved the following results in successive assembly elections: 1999 (28 seats); 2003 (30); 2007 (26); 2011 (30); 2016 (29).
Sadiq Khan was nine points ahead of his rival Zac Goldsmith after 70% of first preference votes had been counted, with allies saying they were “optimistic” that he was on track to become London’s new mayor.
A source close to the Labour politician said it was “looking good” as an online tracker showed Khan pulling out in front of his rival. But he warned that there were still a couple of strong Conservative areas to declare.
Asked whether this should be seen as a victory for Jeremy Corbyn, who will highlight how Conservatives tried to make it into an election about his leadership, the source added: “Sadiq has always said that Jeremy’s name is not on the ballot paper, it’s his. Neither is David Cameron’s or Boris Johnson’s. This has always a straight fight between Sadiq and Zac and we are optimistic.”
He would not reveal whether Khan would mention the leader in his speech, if he is declared winner later today. Conservative sources said that the counting was far from done.
In Northumbria Vera Baird, the Labour former solicitor general, has been re-elected as police and crime commissioner.
This is from BuzzFeed’s Siraj Datoo, with the latest from London.
It now appears that despite fears to the contrary the overall turnout in the Northern Ireland assembly elections will be above 50%. Counting is still ongoing and no candidate has yet been elected to the 108-strong Stormont parliament.
In Derry the Democratic Unionist MP for the neighbouring East Londonderry Westminster seat, Gregory Campbell, has told me he is confident the DUP candidate for Foyle, Gary Middleton, will take a seat in the Foyle constituency.
The veteran leftwinger and civil rights campaigner Eamon McCann, who is standing for People Before Profit in Foyle, is polling strongly and in contention for the sixth seat there. Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Féin deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, may be on course to top the poll.
According to the Electoral Office in Northern Ireland the overall number of votes polled across 18 constituencies was 703,744 – a turnout of 54.91%
Welcome to our continuing live coverage of the UK elections as the latest tally in the race for London mayor gives Labour’s Sadiq Khan a clear lead over his Conservative rival, Zac Goldsmith.
- The SNP lost its majority at Holyrood. It won 63 of the 129 seats in the Scottish parliament. Among the upsets, it lost North East Fife to the Lib Dems but took Edinburgh Northern and Leith from Labour. The party’s deputy leader, Stewart Hosie, said: “There is not a mandate to deliver everything in our manifesto.”
- Labour slipped to third place behind the Conservatives, suffering its worst result since devolution, with 24 MSPs. But on a bruising night it did take Edinburgh Southern from the SNP. Its leader, Kezia Dugdale, failed to win in Edinburgh Eastern but returns to Holyrood via the regional list. She said she would not step down as party leader.
- The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, admitted the party had “a lot of building to do” in Scotland.
- The Conservatives had a successful night, achieving their best ever result. They secured 31 MSPs, including grabbing Glasgow’s Eastwood from Labour. The party leader, Ruth Davidson, took Edinburgh Central for herself from the SNP, and her party finished the night in second place.
- The Liberal Democrats staged a resurgence, holding on to Orkney and surprisingly taking both North East Fife (for their leader, Willie Rennie) and Edinburgh Western from the SNP. They finished with five seats.
- The Scottish Greens took six seats, all via the regional list, including Scotland’s youngest ever MSP, Ross Greer, 21.
- Labour did better than expected in council elections, losing fewer seats than predicted and with its share of the vote likely to be up when counting concludes. It is, however, the first opposition party not to increase its number of seats in mid-term elections in England since 1985.
- Corbyn said Labour “hung on” and “grew support” in the council elections. During a visit to Sheffield he said the party had defied predictions of heavy losses across the country. He claimed there had been a “significant swing to Labour” and insisted he would carry on as leader.
- Labour held the key bellwether council of Crawley, increasing its majority, as well as other swing councils, including Harlow, Nuneaton, Redditch and Southampton. But it lost Dudley to no overall control.
- Labour won the Westminster byelection in Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough. Ukip came second.
- The Tories won Peterborough but lost Worcester to no overall control.
- Ukip drew level with the Conservatives in Thurrock.
- In the Liverpool mayoral election, Labour’s Joe Anderson was re-elected for a second term with more than 50% of the vote.
- The results in some key marginal councils are still to come in, with many not starting their counts until Friday morning.
- Labour won 29 seats, a loss of one and two short of an overall majority. The Welsh Labour leader, Carwyn Jones, said he was willing to work with the Lib Dems or Plaid Cymru in a coalition.
- Plaid Cymru celebrated as its leader, Leanne Wood, swiped Rhondda from the Labour stalwart Leighton Andrews, one of the biggest upsets of the night for Corbyn’s party. It took 12 seats in total, one up on last time, taking over as the second largest party from the Conservatives.
- Ukip made a breakthrough, winning seven seats, including one for the disgraced former Tory minister Neil Hamilton. Another ex-Conservative MP, Mark Reckless, was also elected.
- Labour retained a Westminster seat in the Ogmore byelection.
Still to come
- The full result of the London mayoral election – Labour’s Sadiq Khan v Conservative Zac Goldsmith – is expected between 5pm and 10pm on Friday.
- Declarations for the London assembly begin at about 3pm on Friday.
- The Northern Ireland assembly count will begin on Friday afternoon and continue into the weekend.
- Police and crime commissioners: 41 police force areas in England and Wales are electing a PCC, for only the second time.
- Salford is expected to declare its mayoral result on Friday.
- Bristol doesn’t begin counting its mayoral votes until Saturday, with a result due the same day.
It is looking good for Khan in London. London Elects has a rolling count of the votes on its website, and Khan is well ahead.