The Results of the May Local Elections in Lichfield, Burntwood and East Staffs
Politics works in very different ways in different parts of the Country. And the picture is time dependent too. By the end of Saturday, Lib Dems were marginally down on the number of seats, with a net loss of 34 seats. But, by Sunday night, when all the results were in, the picture had become a small net gain of 7 seats and 1 council gained. On days one and two most of the council votes were in urban areas in the North. But later results tended to be from counties and districts in the South.
If we look at our Party's seat share, we made marginal losses in the North of England although there were places like Liverpool, Durham and Barnsley where we took a small number of seats from Labour and moved slowly forward. These tended to be areas outside the so-called red wall areas where Lib Dem numbers have always been relatively small. The North West, in part, followed this trend with Labour suffering minimal losses in the region and doing well in all the mayoral elections.
The results in the South of England were better. Not only did we advance in places like Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire but also achieved this partly by knocking off Tory Council Leaders. In these councils and others like Wiltshire we may well play a role in leadership of these Councils for the first time in 20+ years.
It was nice to see our numbers double on the Greater London Assembly where the first Muslim Woman on that authority, Hina Bokhari, was elected alongside our long-standing member Caroline Pidgeon.
The Greens did well but in pockets. With one exception, Bristol, they are nowhere near to running a Council and how well they did depended on local circumstances. Significantly, they did not do well in areas where the Lib Dems are clearly the main opposition to Labour. They made only marginal advances in University areas like Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and Liverpool which were once thought to be their natural breeding grounds.
The Tories did well but not as well as the Tory media has proclaimed! The tone was set by their stonking win in Hartlepool and on day one with gains in the so-called red wall seats. Overall, they gained just over 200 seats. This was a good figure but how much of this was a Vaccination bounce remains to be seen.
The undoubted losers of the elections nationally were the Labour Party.
Making sense of the election results
The May elections showed it was a good time to be an incumbent government in all three nations, especially thanks to the enhanced profile each government has had from its regular coronavirus press conferences. Add to that the big restrictions on campaigning for most of the year running up to polling day, and it was a tough year for us to be fighting elections.
To come out of that with a small net gain in the English council results and the London Assembly, keeping a Senedd seat in Wales but also sadly losing a list seat in Scotland was much better than it could have been.
I know that will be little consolation to colleagues involved in campaigns that didn't quite make it.
Lichfield Tamworth and Burton
Locally we more or less held our own compared to previous election in 2017 but were disappointed not to advance in the Lichfield and Burntwood area. Thanks are due to all of our candidates, volunteers and those who gave money - you were all great!
Turnout was relatively low - averaging low 30's per cent, far below that of previous county elections.