Local elections in part of the UK suggest Brexit hurts both Conservatives and Labour

EPA-EFE//WILL OLIVER

Election officials at the Magnet Leisure Centre count votes cast in the constituency of Maidenhead, United Kingdom.

Local elections in part of the UK suggest Brexit hurts both Conservatives and Labour


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Local elections on 2 May in England and Northern Ireland have provided a snapshot of the changing political map with Brexit still the main focus for voters and only weeks before the European Elections on 23-26 May.

Polls took place for 248 English councils, six mayors, and all 11 councils in Northern Ireland.

Approximately 70% of Conservative voters voted to Leave in the 2016 referendum on EU membership and approximately 30% to Remain. Conversely, 70% of Labour’s voters voted to Remain and 30% to Leave, the latter being concentrated in the deindustrialised North of England, a traditional working-class heartland.

But both parties are shedding council seats on a massive scale.

The Tories were lost nearly 450 seats and 18 English councils. Labour lost 80 seats and three councils. The big winners of local elections are the Green Party, who gained 42 councillors, and the Liberals, who gained 300 councillors and eight councils. For the Liberal Party, this is their biggest electoral advance since 2003.

UKIP has all but been eradicated, losing 54 seats, while the Brexit and Change UK parties did not field candidates.

Results suggest the Conservatives have shed seats in Remain areas, especially in the South of England around London; conversely, Labour has lost in the whole of the North, while Independent candidates gained approximately a 25% share of the vote, an exceptionally high result.

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