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Live updates on who won every council vote in England as Labour make gains

The results of the 2023 local elections are gradually coming in today, with the early signs suggesting it’s been a good night for Labour – and a disaster for the Tories.

Sir Keir Starmer hailed “fantastic results across the country” when he appeared in Chatham, Kent on Friday morning.

The Labour leader added: “Make no mistake: we are on course for a Labour majority at the next general election.”

Rishi Sunak, meanwhile, said that it is always “disappointing” to lose “hard-working Conservative councillors” – but “in terms of the results, it’s still early”.

Despite the significant Labour gains, the Prime Minister added: “I’m not detecting any massive ground swell of movement towards the Labour Party.”

Local election 2023 results map

The map below is updating live as local election results are announced throughout Friday 5 May.

If you want to know when your local council will announce its results, you can see a full list of predicted timings here.

What do the local election results mean?

Jane Merrick, i‘s Policy Editor, reported on why polling experts  say it is “risky” to use local election results to read across directly to general elections that follow.

However, the pollsters do also acknowledge that the polls can suggest the “vibes” of voters around different areas of the country.

And sometimes, such as in 1996 – when Labour swept up hundreds of council seats before Tony Blair’s landslide win a year later – they can act as a good predictor of national polls.

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves his campaign headquarters after addressing his supporters, in London, Britain, May 5, 2023. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Rishi Sunak said it is always ‘disappointing’ to lose Tory councillors (Photo: Reuters)

Why the local results won’t tell us who will win the general election

Jane Merrick

The most striking examples of how council votes do not always translate into seats in parliament are in those that preceded the last two general elections.

In May 2017, the Conservatives under Theresa May gained 563 council seats, while Labour suffered 382 losses. This triggered optimism in Downing Street that Mrs May would increase the Tory majority at the general election, which had already been called for 8 June.

Yet only a fraction of council seats in England were up for grabs, meaning the local election results did not tell the full story of public opinion across the UK.

What’s more, voters a month later appeared to punish the Tories for forcing what many saw as an unnecessary general election to shore up Mrs May’s position, and her party lost its parliamentary majority.

Conservative elections expert Lord Hayward said: “In 2017, this was a case of going for an election when you didn’t need to. [People thought] ‘there must be something wrong and you are not telling us’. So it didn’t work. It didn’t ring true for the public at large.”

In 2019, local election results also contradicted the general election outcome six months down the line. The difference then was undoubtedly down to a change of leadership in No 10.

In May of that year, while Mrs May was still prime minister and Brexit was stuck in the parliamentary doldrums, the Tories lost control of 44 councils and 1,330 seats.

Although Mrs May had already announced her intention to resign at some point over the parliamentary stalemate over Brexit, the disastrous results contributed to pressure on her to fix a date.

At the December 2019 general election, six months after that poor council performance, Boris Johnson led his party to an 80-seat landslide.

Local elections 2023

It’s looking like a tough night for the Tories, but you can follow all the latest news as local election results come in, in our live-blog here, or check the results on our live map here.

Local election results look bleak for Rishi Sunak as Tories take an early battering, writes Political Editor Hugo Gye in his morning analysis

That tough night for the Tories doesn’t mean Labour can start booking the moving vans for No. 10. Jane Merrick explains why the local election results won’t tell us whether Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer will actually win the general election in 2024.

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