A very political week

9.30am Friday 5 May

You may think that the political story of the week is Diane Abbott’s maths, Juncker’s dinner fall-out, or Theresa May’s (undiplomatic) speech outside No 10, but for me it’s all the individual stories of councillors being elected last night and today. Stories like my colleague Barry, who’s just been re-elected as a Northumberland councillor, and the likely win later today of my colleague Stuart in Leicestershire.

With only 10 out of 34 English councils having been completed and declared overnight, 13 out of 22 in Wales, none in Scotland, and the results of most of the new metro Mayors being announced this afternoon, the conclusions of the local election results yesterday can only be an indication, but some patterns are clear.

The Conservatives are probably on course for a landslide in a month’s time, having made gains in all types of authority, including taking control so far in Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire and the Isle of Wight.

UKIP has so far lost every seat it was defending, although its spokesman still claimed this morning that it was a major force in local government.

The Liberal Democrat’s hope for a rapid advance in the south west of England has been stymied, losing seats in Somerset and not getting through to the final two in the west of England Mayor (which was won by the Conservative’s Tim Bowles).

Labour has so far gained no seats in England, though party bosses are claiming that losses in south Wales have not as bad as some feared.

In Northumberland, the Conservative’s failed to win overall control of the council when the Liberal Democrats won a drawing of straws against the Conservative candidate in a tied vote.

The week started with Juncker’s 5 minute EU Council love-in on Saturday. Despite claims from The Times’ Bruno Waterfield just a day before that the PM would cave in to the negotiating demands of the EU, Theresa May was bounced into reiterating her stance not once, but twice this week, that “no deal was better than a bad deal”. Up until then, her civil servants (and perhaps David Davis) had thought they wouldn’t need to prepare for a disorderly exit from the EU. But with no decision likely on the deal to be made until midnight on the day of the deadline (or perhaps 3am, knowing the EU), the UK and its civil servants know they can’t bluff Junker. That means an awful lot of extra work for civil servants over the next year.

Referendums have been getting a bit of a bad name for themselves this week. There’s growing realisation in the main parties, and particularly the Lib Dems, that offering to repeat the EU referendum as either a sign of democracy or a denial of last year’s vote (choose your preference) is not going down well with the voters. It’s the same in Scotland with a YouGov survey showing 49% of Scots shunning a new independence vote. Voters, apparently, are fed up of bickering, strife, backstabbing and angst – and that’s just within their own families. And with the Lib Dems campaigning hard in the Remain territories of south west London (Richmond, Twickenham and Kingston & Surbiton), this realisation combined with last night’s vote, may be unwelcome news.

The Rochdale Herald reports the Daleks are replacing their Exterminate slogan. #STRONG AND STABLE. #STRONG AND STABLE. #STRONG AND STABLE.

Richard Patient, Managing Director, Thorncliffe

Thorncliffe is a leader in planning communications. In the last week, we’ve had planning approvals in Lambeth, Kingston, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon and Harrow.

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