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Labour Make Big Gains In Local Elections And Mayoral Polls

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LOCAL ELECTIONS CAMERON CLEGG
The Local Elections Could Prove Disappointing For Cameron And Clegg - But Labour Have Worries Too | PA

Results are coming in from the 2012 local elections in England and Wales, and all indications are that Labour are making significant gains at the expense of the coalition parties.

With about half of the English and Welsh councils declared the results are starting to look particularly embarrassing for David Cameron, who has seen Labour make gains in Tory heartlands. Elsewhere Nottingham, Manchester and Coventry all voted No to the PM's plan to have elected Mayors. A referendum on in Birmingham is likely to produce the same result.

By 7:00 on Friday morning Labour had gained more than 450 council seats in England - while the Tories had lost over 250 seats and the Lib Dems had lost nearly 130 councillors. Turnout was projected to be 32% - a disturbingly low figure, even for local elections.

Labour were up by nearly 100 councillors in Wales, the Tories were down 30 and the Lib Dems down 25. Paid Cymru were down 12 councillors.

Key councils such as Thurrock, Harlow, Southampton, Birmingham, Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Chorley fell to Labour.

The Prime Minister was also embarrassed by losses in his Oxfordshire constituency - with Labour taking the seats of Witney Central, Witney East and Chipping Norton.

Labour also won the Liverpool Mayoral election - with Joe Anderson, a former leader of the council - winning by a landslide.

Andy Sawford from the local government think-tank LGiU told HuffPost on Friday morning: "Ed Miliband has hugely strengthened his leadership of the Labour party, having won more than the number of seats and councils that were predicted at the half way stage, with more counts to come today.

"Crucially though he will point to the correlation between council gains and the key marginals that Labour needs to win if it is to have a chance of forming the next government."

But it wasn't all plain sailing for Ed Miliband - shortly after 5am the Labour leader of Bradford Council lost his seat to a Respect party candidate. The party gained five seats overall - the council remains under no overall control.

Click here or scroll down for live updates

Although the rain has held off in London for most of the day, Thursday was a washout across much of the Midlands - torrential downpours in places like Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire could suppress what's widely predicted to be a low turnout.

Austerity measures mean that many councils are not counting votes overnight - about a third are holding off until later on Friday morning, as is London and every count in Scotland.

See also:

Tactical Voting Expected In London Mayoral Contest

Massive Rejection For Cameron's Elected Mayors Plan

Labour Man Takes Liverpool Mayoral Election By A Landslide

So it's going to be a long process of drip-drip results. The narrative - we expect - is for the Tories and Lib Dems to suffer bad headlines first thing in the morning, when it will become clear they're on course to lose hundreds of council seats.

But Labour will not be crowing. In addition to their problems in Bradford, it could easily be their turn to feel the wrath of voters later in the day when the results of the London and Glasgow elections come in. Many fear that Ken Livingstone is going to lose out against Boris Johnson, and that Glasgow Council, the so-called "jewel in the crown" of Labour's local powerbase, could be lost to an SNP surge.

There was another setback for Labour in Bradford, when the party's council leader was defeated by a Respect candidate. The result emulated George Galloway's shock success in last month's parliamentary by-election.

A BBC projection of the national results suggested that Labour received 39% of the vote, the Tories 31%, Lib Dems 16% and others 14%.

Voting in the London Mayoral Election begins at 8:45am - with a declaration expected by Friday evening.

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So over 41 hours after polls opened on Thursday morning, Boris Johnson is mayor of London and we can all go to bed to dream analytical dreams about what the results mean for the country.

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Probable ETA of a declaration is about an hour, hopefully less (please)

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London Elects statement:

We have results in from 13 of the 14 constituencies in the Mayor of London and London Assembly election. The final constituency is Brent & Harrow. The Greater London Returning Officer has been in touch with the CRO for Brent & Harrow to establish the reason for a delay. All batches of ballot papers were registered and scanned. Two batches went to storage without some ballot papers being manually entered as required. Manual entry is required when a scanner cannot read a ballot paper – for example if a ballot paper is damaged. It is not an issue with the scanners. The issue was identified during the verification stage. These two batches are being re-processed. To make this happen as quickly as possible we have separated out into several smaller batches. This is why the progress screens appear to show a changing number of verified ballot papers.

We will declare as soon as possible but it is obviously important that every vote is counted.

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Well we don't entirely know. The latest is that at least two ballot boxes were found unscanned at the Brent count, and they're now being counted by hand, for some reason.

There are rumours that Ken's team has asked for a full recount in Brent, which would delay things for another few hours.

London elects thinks it'll be only another 20 mins, but they've been saying that for nearly two hours.

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@ tnewtondunn : The Sun's pollster Peter Kellner of YouGov calls it - "Boris has won. He has too big a lead for Ken to overturn".

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It's leading to a sharp narrowing in the polls between the two candidates. On 1st preference votes Boris now has 44% and Ken 40% - 8 out of 14 constituencies have now declared.

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Here's the latest.

london shocker

People are talking about 50/50 odds between Ken and Boris. The atmosphere at City Hall has changed dramatically in the past half hour.

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Ed Miliband, speaking in Southampton, has declared that Labour is "coming back".

This comes after Labour took control of Southampton from the Conservatives.

He railed against the "out of touch government in Westminster".

"David Cameron promised change, not for the better but for the worse. Today in Southampton, it is a rejection of the economic failure of this government, and the unfairness of this government". he added

He also boasted that Labour is "beating back" the SNP in Scotland.

He recognised the low turnouts, saying it showed there was "still more to do".

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Conservative MP Peter Bone has said that the PM has 'one hand tied behind his back'.

"Worst of all, we've got the Liberals holding us back" he added

The results signified the "beginning of the end of the coalition", he told the BBC.

"We're seeing Boris winning as a Conservative in London, yet the Coalition losing against Labour. So the message must be let's come out of this coalition as soon as possible." he said

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Liam Byrne, who quit the Shadow Cabinet in preparation for running for Birmingham Mayor, has just tweeted this

@ LiamByrneMP : A huge thanks to ALL who supported Yes2Mayor, Albert and me: our job now is to get 4-square behind our brilliant new Lbr council #brummayor

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@ SmithTonyD : Brum result: Leader 120,611, Mayor 88,085. 57.8 Per cent "no" #BrumVote12

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@ oflynnexpress : Brum votes No to a Mayor. Has anyone noticed people like voting No in refs? No2EU

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With 56 of 79 seats declared, Labour currently lead over the SNP by 29 to 20.

Barring a major upset, Labour will resist the SNP advance in Glasgow.

@ suemacmillan : Labour holding its majority in Glasgow is a whopper of a result. Well done @scottishlabour

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@ JenWilliamsMEN : Ian Stewart is mayor of Salford.

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@ baddogOTM : Labour win CHIPPING NORTON! David Cameron, Rebekah Brooks, Elisabeth Murdoch, Steve Hilton + Jeremy Clarkson now have a LABOUR council.

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With 166 of 181 councils declared, Labour have gained more than 700 council seats.

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Former Libdem leader Paddy Ashdown has said the Liberal Democrats should "keep on doing" what it is doing.

Speaking to the BBC, Lord Ashdown said the party's mettle has been "tested" by the results.

"The party's mettle has been tested, it has been tested before. We should keep on doing what we're doing" he said

"It doesn't look as bad in terms of hanging onto our seats that we have got as it might have been." he added.

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According to the Guardian, Ken Livingstone's team are privately conceding defeat.

They reportedly also think Boris Johnson will increase his majority.

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A council candidate dressed as a penguin called Professor Pongoo has received more votes than the Liberal Democrats in Edinburgh.

Professor Pongoo (real name Mike Ferrigan) was an independent candidate who had pledged to wear the penguin outfit to every council meeting if he was elected.

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From the votes counted so far, Labour are on 44%, Conservatives are on 33% and the Greens are on 8%.

The LibDems dwell at 7% while Ukip are on 5%.

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Harman castigated Watson for his "hold your nose and vote for Ken" comment - and was a bit hesitant to agree that Ken had been the right candidate in the first place...we thought.

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Clearly annoyed, Farage has arrived at City Hall and says that the ballot paper fail was UKIP's fault, not London Elects. But he's blaming it on UKIP's poor performance. They're currently trailing in 6th place behind Siobhan Benita

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Ukip leader Nigel Farage is reportedly furious that his party's candidate for Mayor of London, Lawrence Webb, was listed on the ballot paper as Fresh Choice for London.

webb

He says it was a 'cockup which undoubtedly cost UKIP votes' and could have helped Boris Johnson's bid for four more years at City Hall.

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Also here is a round-up from HuffPost of Tory dissent following the local elections drubbing. A few themes emerge. Many Tories think House of Lords reform is a distraction - a couple but don't like gay marriage, but the overwhelming narrative is there needs to be a growth strategy.

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In an update to previous news about the BNP's difficulties, it has emerged that the party has lost every single one of the 12 seats it has been defending.

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@ Kevin_Maguire : Looks like Labour will win London but lose the Mayoralty, getting most votes/seats in the Assembly but Blue Boris beats Red Ken

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@ StewartHosieMP : 16 out of 16 #SNP win outright control of Dundee

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