Labour slumped to a record low in today’s local council elections as it was swept from power in its last four counties. On a turbulent day which pushed Prime Minister Gordon Brown closer to the political abyss, the party plunged into electoral meltdown as it faced losing more than 300 seats. Labour’s projected share of the vote also plummeted to 23 per cent leaving them trailing in third place in the last big test of public opinion before a General Election. By this evening, the Tories had gained control of eight councils, Labour lost three and the LibDems down two. It is the first time in history that Labour has not controlled a single county council.
But note this:
But in a massive backlash against the MPs’ expenses scandal and the Government’s faltering handling of the economy, millions of disillusioned voters shunned the ballot box. Insiders said turnout had slumped with only about 30 per cent of people casting a vote. Mr Brown, already facing a desperate fight for survival, admitted the party had suffered a ‘painful defeat’ in the last major test of public opinion before a General Election. In one extraordinary snapshot of the anger felt by voters, a Monster Raving Loony Party member trounced two humiliated Labour candidates in an election in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.
The British National Party won its first ever county council seat in the UK today. The far-Right party won its first seat in Lancashire in the party’s stronghold of Burnley as Labour was routed. Sharon Wilkinson was elected to Lancashire County Council with a massive 30 per cent of the vote as electors dumped Labour in their droves.
So what now? The cabinet (or what’s left of it) has pretty much missed its chance to tell Brown to go. The question now is whether enough Labour MPs can be persuaded to pop their heads up above the parapet for long enough to call for a leadership election. If they can, the best guess is that Brown is done for. It’ll be a busy weekend…