With the final results in from Cherwell Council, it’s now confirmed that the Liberal Democrats have made a net gain of seats in this May’s council elections in England.
It’s a small gain – plus eight seats – but it is a gain and it means that this is the third year in a row that the party has made a net gain of seats in the May elections. That is the first time we’ve done that since Charles Kennedy and Ming Campbell were party leaders. 586 Liberal Democrat councillors have been elected.
There is also one more Liberal Democrat controlled council than there was before these elections. Take a bow, St Albans.
With several other councils moving into no overall control, the increase in the number of Lib Dem council leaders may well end up at more than one.
Particularly notable were the results in Chesham and Amersham, with Lib Dem progress ahead of the Parliamentary by-election expected in June.
Here’s Daisy Cooper on some of the gains, speaking before the total net gain was confirmed:
Of course, alongside the brilliant wins there are the heart-breaking loses. Many sympathies to everyone who didn’t quite make it this time.
It was a really tough set of circumstances for all the different elections thanks to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on campaigning and the incumbency boost for all three governments we’ve seen.
To have come out slightly ahead in the council elections and in the London Assembly election (up one seat to two) is very welcome. The longer-term trend in council elections is also promising:
Alongside that there is the disappointment of slipping back in Scotland despite some brilliant constituency results, and holding our own in Wales. It means we have both successes as well as failures to learn from once everyone has had a chance get some rest.
Note: as is standard practice in analysis of May local elections, the figures I have used exclude council by-elections also held on the same day. From what I’ve seen, these are likely to include a further set of net gains for the party, and will definitely increase the total number of Lib Dems elected this week.