Local elections 2018: Voters back the status quo so far

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Local election Image copyright PA

Elections are about asking voters what they want and what they think.

This time round, what the public has said back to politicians, is we don’t want big changes yet.

Only just over half of the results from around England have come through so far, and I can’t say that enough.

But as things stand it looks like the Labour Party have made some gains in London, but small steps, rather than the dramatic strides some had expected.

They had poured energy and the enthusiasm of their huge number of new activists particularly into London boroughs and that seems to have come up short.

There could well be some head-scratching in Labour HQ about how that can be explained.

It is certainly too soon to suggest that we have reached “peak Corbyn”, as Conservative former education secretary Justine Greening has suggested.

RESULT NOT IN YET

Labour will be able to point to picking up Plymouth Council and removing the patch of blue in the sea of red that was Trafford, in the North West, from Tory control.

Before the full picture is clear, it looks as if Labour has moved on slightly since the general election.

But, in the words of Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, Jeremy Corbyn’s party has come out of this more or less “empty-handed”, and they can’t show the kind of progress they would be shouting about if they were truly convinced they were on a rapid march to Number 10.

The Tories have avoided the kind of wipe-out they feared and there will be huge relief in Conservative HQ this morning.

After a torrid time since the start of the year, and significant divisions in the Tory Party, they could well have expected to take more of a hammering at the polls.

But there are in these results, reminders of where their support really is.

Where support has moved to Theresa May’s party it has primarily been in areas that voted Leave in the EU referendum, heaping even more pressure on the Tories to get Brexit right.

And Losing Richmond, in South West London to the Lib Dems is a reminder of how some voters in Remain-tending areas will turn away.

Remember, this isn’t done yet, there are many more results to come.

But this has not been a night of change, but a night were voters seemed to have broadly backed the status quo.

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