POLITICS

5 Election Stories You Might Have Missed

Lib Dems. Coburn. Elmo

06/05/2016 17:16 | Updated 06 May 2016

Labour's annihilation in the Scottish Parliament and "clinging on" in local elections in England are the stories dominating from last night’s election. But there were plenty more tales to be told.

1. Former Tory minister Neil Hamilton's Ukip return

The ex-Tory and one half of Louis Theroux’s favourite couple, The Hamiltons, has staged a comeback.

The former MP, who was embroiled in the 1990s cash for questions scandal, now sports a Ukip rosette and was elected among six candidates that will now sit in the Welsh Assembly.

The party opposed the existence of the Senedd until three years ago.

Not everyone was impressed.

It was a largely good night for Ukip, with gains across England and a surge expected in the London Assembly.

One sub-plot: will Hamilton’s win lead to a challenge to Nigel Farage’s supremacy? Our man Owen Bennett has a look.

 

2. The Lib Dem fightback?

Remember them? After the post-coalition demolition, Tim Farron’s party seem to be mounting a modest recovery.

In Manchester, former Lib Dem MP John Leech ended Labour’s “one-party state”, winning a seat in the city council in Didsbury - Manchester’s answer to Notting Hill.

Further north, the Libs Dems won five seats in the Scottish Parliament. Ok, it was exactly the same number as four years’ ago, and the party finished fifth behind the Scottish Greens. But at least it wasn’t oblivion, and could have been far worse were it not for the sterling efforts of leader Willie Rennie and his fondness for a photocall.

Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Willie Rennie on a volcano slide

Lib Dem high command was also keen to suggest it is back on the comeback trail, claiming it was "back in third place" according to the BBC's projected national vote share of 15%.

Former leader Nick Clegg's having it too.

3. No dice for David Coburn

The larger-than-life Ukip MEP, leader in Scotland and social media favourite failed to bag the party’s first Scottish Parliament seat, polling under 6,000 votes in the Highlands and Islands region. This was despite winning Periscope.

Periscope
David Coburn on Periscope

Some were devastated.

The man himself hinted at a BBC conspiracy that kept him off the TV debates.

There’s always Europe.

4. The Ken effect on Labour’s Jewish vote

Labour was this morning picking through the wreckage when Ken Livingstone appeared on the telly talking about Hitler again.

While the former London mayor is blaming “Bitter Old Blairites” and a pliable media for whipping up the controversy, there is some evidence it is having an impact on the Labour vote.

In Bury South’s Sedgley ward, Labour lost for the first time ever after a 22% swing - in a ward with a substantial Jewish population.

Meanwhile, in the GLA’s Barnet and Camden seat, with Britain’s biggest Jewish community, Andrew Dismore is waiting nervously to find out if the Tories have taken the seat.

Even Corbyn’s right-hand man John McDonnell admitted “there's no doubt” the Livingstone row had “set us back”.

5. Elmo got 58 votes in Sheffield

A candidate standing under the Give Me Back Elmo banner in the Sheffield Brightside by-election was a 2am social media hit, dressed in full Muppets garb awaiting the returning officer’s verdict.

Under the costume was Bobby Smith from New Father 4 Justice - a breakaway from the infamous group campaigning for the rights of fathers to see their children.

He has a history of being involved in protesting to politicians, and Smith stood against David Cameron in the General Election last year, and won 37 votes. Last night, he secured 58.

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