This week he makes his predictions
Last week, I explained the background to these local elections. This week, I shall outline my predictions.
Scotland is relatively easy to predict. The introduction of PR means that Labour would lose at least 100 council seats, even if their support stayed at its 2003 level. In all likelihood, Labourâ€™s support will be lower than in 2003, and their loss of seats will be around 150. The SNP are likely to gain a similar number and there should be small net gains for the Conservatives and Lib Dems.
Labour are unlikely to retain overall control of more than three authorities, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, and Midlothian. It is unlikely that any other authority will remain under the overall control of any one party, although several authorities should continue to elect majorities of independents.
In England, I would expect the notional vote shares to be Conservative 40%, Lib Dem 27%, Labour 24%.This will be different from the actual vote share, as the smaller parties and independents should win at least 15% of the total vote, and there are no elections in London.
I believe the Conservatives will gain around 750 seats, net, the Liberal Democrats will be broadly unchanged, and Labour will lose around 850 seats. The difference will be made up by gains for minor parties, principally the Greens and BNP.
I expect the Conservatives will gain the large majority of Gravesham, Lincoln, Corby, and Plymouth (from Labour) Bournemouth, Torbay, Uttlesford, and Shepway (from the Lib Dem.), and Chester, Crewe and Nantwich, Rugby, Bath & NE Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Braintree, South Derbyshire, Dover, Dartford, Crawley, Gedling, Waverley, and Mid Suffolk, (from no overall control). I believe the likeliest Conservative losses are Hyndburn (to Labour) and Thurrock (to no overall control). I do not anticipate the Conservatives winning overall control of Brighton & Hove.
I think the Liberal Democrats are likely to gain Rochdale, Hull, Bristol, Harborough, Woking and North Somerset (all from No Overall Control). In addition to the councils mentioned above, I consider they are likely to lose St. Albanâ€™s to no overall control.
I believe Labour are likely to win Hyndburn, where they have performed very wll in by-elections. As well as the Councils mentioned above, I anticipate they will lose Blackburn & Darwen, Blackpool, Oldham, NW Leicestershire, Barnsley, Middlesborough, and Sheffield to No Overall Control.
There was just one by-election last night. Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC, Aberaman South. Plaid 675, Labour 667. This was a Plaid gain from Labour on a big swing.
Sean Fear, a London Tory, writes weekly for the site.