Local elections often have low turnouts, so, it is unsurprising that the supposed whitewash of the Conservatives never materialised, most voting projections are based on a voter turnout that similar to a general election. But what can be made of the results across the country that have seen Labour make gains in terms of numbers of councillors but share the same vote share of 35% as the Conservative Party.

Majority of the media are claiming this to be a ‘catastrophic loss’ for Labour and MPs such as Chuka Umunna have called for an immediate inquiry into the ‘defeat’.

But what is the reality?

Election summary

Labour hold twice as many councils and had a huge swing to take Plymouth Council in the South West, well known Conservative strongholds. They also took Kirklees, a council we haven't held since 1999 and had their best result in London since 1971. In Westminster and Wandsworth, Labour has more seats than at any time since 1986 along with a record number of seats in Croydon, Ealing, Redbridge and Waltham Forest. Furthermore, Labour MP Dan Jarvis has been elected mayor of the Sheffield City Region and are the largest party in Trafford

The Conservatives gained the London council of Barnet from no overall control and held their flagship London councils of Westminster and Wandsworth.

They also won Basildon and Peterborough, which had both also been under no overall control. But they have lost control of their northern flagship Trafford Council after 14 years of Conservative rule and now hold no councils in Greater Manchester. The Conservatives also benefitted greatly from UKIP’s monumental collapse as the openly and largely racist vote transfers to them.

The Liberal Democrats did make significant gains in their overall number of councillors and they took overall control of Richmond from the Conservatives. UKIP collapsed, losing all but 3 councillors, likely signalling the death of the party. But what is concerning is that estimates are suggesting that around 4000 people were denied opportunity to vote because of the voter ID trialling, the full story of this will no doubt unfold within the next few days.

Change is needed

According to reports by BBC North West, the Conservative Party have reinstated Rosemary Carroll to the party and lifted her suspension, enabling the party to take control of Pendle Council by just a single seat. Ms Rosemary was suspended for sending a racist tweet and this reinstatement come on the back of Theresa May telling Barnet councillors, "people of all faiths have rejected the vile anti-Semitism that has gone unchallenged in the Labour Party for too long". Anthony Mullen, another candidate who was suspended by them for an abusive tweet aimed at Diane Abbott, was quickly reinstated after he won his council seat.

In the same borough of Ms Carroll, Labour councillor Mohammed Sakib saw his car deliberately set alight.

But these acts show that change is desperately needed and whilst Labour have had a solid success, it isn’t a successful night for the Conservatives as the only councils they gained control of are where UKIP either didn’t field a candidate or their vote collapsed.

Part of the reason this demolition never materialised was because of the voter turnout, whilst figures have yet to be confirmed, most places are reporting turnout of around 30-40 per cent and historically, lower voter turnout tends to favour right wing parties. Namely the Conservatives but what is interesting is that the BBC predicted that if this were a general election then Labour would have been largest party on 283 seats to the Conservative’s 280, this indicates that if this was a general election where voters tend to turn up in much bigger numbers, then Labour would win significantly more seats, maybe even a majority.