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The Results of the Local Elections in England

The local elections for England were held on May 4, 2023, with the results being published on May 5, 2023. Currently, the results of 229 out of 230 councils have been declared.  Despite there being 317 councils in England, council elections are only being held in 230 of these, equating to a total of 8058 council seats. Furthermore, on May 18, 2023, council elections will be held in Northern Ireland, and a maximum of 462 seats will be up for election.


When viewing the results collected by The Guardian reflecting councillor changes in the local elections, a significant increase is seen for the Labour Party, Green Party, and Liberal Democrats. The rise in seats for these three parties has led to a substantial decrease in the number of seats that the Conservatives possess. The Conservative Party now holds 2287 seats, which is a loss of 960 seats. Comparably, the Labour Party now holds 2652 seats, which is a huge gain of 635 council seats.

The local elections have been very beneficial for the Green Party and Liberal Democrats, which both gained a large number of seats and thus representation. The Liberal Democrats now have 1615 seats, representing a gain of 416, while the Green Party has 481 seats, reflecting a surplus of 200.


Furthermore, when viewing the Council Control Change, a similar trend is perceivable. While Labour, secondary parties, and minor parties have benefited from a surplus, the Conservative Party’s votes and support have declined considerably. The Conservative Party has lost 48 seats due to this change and currently has a total of 33 seats. This party lost 50 seats altogether and only gained a new seat in two councils. Surprisingly, the Conservative Party now possesses a similar number of seats as the Liberal Democrats, which now hold 29 seats.


When comparing the considerable decline in the Conservative Party’s votes with the increase in votes for oppositional parties, it is apparent that the Conservatives are now receiving less support than previously. The Labour Party had a sizable gain of 23 new seats while only losing one seat to another party. Labour now controls 71 councils in England, which is over double the amount of the Conservative Party that remains in government.


As previously mentioned, the Liberal Democrats had a notable increase in seats too, meaning that they now possess only four fewer seats than the governing party. The Liberal Democrats amassed a total of 12 new seats and didn’t lose any seats in these local elections. Surprisingly, the Green Party only gained one seat in the Council Control Change, resulting in this party now possessing one seat altogether.


The local election results hint at a rise in support for the Independent Party and other minor parties within the multi-party system of the UK. Although many of the seats have no overall control (NOC), different parties would have to coexist to serve the needs of the electorate within these councils. An example of this is that, out of these forty seats, 37 have moved from the Conservative Party’s domain to NOC. Out of the other three, two are seats that have moved from the NOC to the Independent Party, and one is a change from the Labour Party to the NOC.



The current results of England’s local elections present a clear contrast to the results collected in May 2022. When viewing the statistics from the Institute for Government, the dwindling support and votes for the Conservative Party are observable. The Conservative Party possessed 37% of England’s seats in 2022’s local elections and held 39% of these seats the year prior, in 2021. As of England’s declared results in 2023, the Conservative Party now only possesses 28.38% of seats, which reflects a sizable decline in support levels for this party.

Moreover, the Labour Party held 31% of seats in 2022, although this percentage of seats has risen to a whopping 32.91% in the May 2023 elections. This change is significant, as Labour now holds more seats than the Conservative Party, despite the Conservatives maintaining governmental power. Furthermore, Labour now holds just under a third of England’s council seats, which will increase the party’s influence and ability to create change. Between 2003 and 2022, the Conservative Party consistently maintained the largest share of England’s council seats, including during the previous two Labour governments of Tony Blair (1997-2007) and Gordon Brown (2007-2010). However, as of England’s May 2023 local election, the Conservative Party is no longer the occupier of the largest share of council seats, with the Labour Party having taken the largest share instead.


The significant decline in council seats and domain for the Conservative Party is reflective of a variety of different factors. For instance, there has been a lot of upheaval within the government, with the UK having three separate Prime Ministers in 2022 (Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and Rishi Sunak). Further, there have been a large number of scandals, resignations, and replacements within the Conservative Party since 2021. In addition to this and the global pandemic that affected governmental decision-making, there have been a lot of controversies in the UK recently. Examples of the ongoing controversies facing the Conservative Party are the cost-of-living crisis, rising energy bills, and frequent workers’ strikes.

Regardless of one’s political opinions, it is apparent that many members of England’s electorate have decided to cast their votes away from the Conservative Party and towards oppositional parties. However, the results of the local elections in Northern Ireland are pending until approximately May 19, 2023, and will determine the future of the Conservative Party. The results of the local elections could be detrimental to the governing future of the Conservative Party, and there are prospects of the UK having a hung parliament based on the voting of England and Northern Ireland.

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