Live blog: All the build up and results from the 2022 Welsh local elections
There are still a few seats left that may not now be declared until tomorrow, but with the fate of each council sealed it’s all over bar the thousands of phone calls over the weekend as councillors try and cobble together their ruling administrations.
So I’m going to leave this live blog here, some 9,000 words and 15 hours after it started. Thanks to the tens of thousands who have tuned in during the day – I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it! Please also visit Nation.Cymru over the coming days for coverage of the aftermath of the council elections over the weekend and into next week.
The latest from the Vale of Glamorgan is that the Conservatives have indeed suffered some heavy losses as they have elsewhere in Wales.
In 2017 they elected 23 councillors to Labour’s 14. So far they have 12 to Labour’s 25, with only four seats left to declare.
No one will have overall control but it looks as if a Labour-independent administration that formed after the Conservatives fell out a few years ago will now very likely stay in place there.
This is a very interesting point by Owen Hughes.
Looking at the results so far from Conwy and Denbighshire then could be major changes in the make-up of ruling coalitions – this comes as a potential (optional) tourism tax is on the horizon for councils
— Owen Hughes (@business_owen) May 6, 2022
Under Conservative administrations, these councils were very unlikely to introduce the Welsh Government’s 300% tourism tax and other changes designed to take the heat out of the housing market. Under Labour administrations, they are much more likely to do so.
Asked why Labour did so well at the Conservatives’ expense, First Minister Mark Drakeford said that there were “two really strong themes”.
“One was a personal conduct of the Prime Minister, a gap between what he asked everybody else to do and the way that he himself ran his operation in Downing Street,” he said.
“But probably even more than that was the cost of living crisis. And that strong feeling that a Cabinet of millionaires, who is what they are in Westminster, simply could not be in touch with what it is like to go week by week wondering whether you will be able to find the money you need to feed your family, or to pay for something as basic as heating and lighting.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford has hit the Conservatives where it hurts, saying that they are no longer a party of the whole of the UK.
“They represent a shrinking share of the whole of the United Kingdom,” he said.
“They’ve done very badly in Scotland, they’ve done very badly in Wales, they won’t be winning seats in Northern Ireland.
“They have lost absolutely flagship councils in London.
“If they were sensible they’d be asking themselves what can we do to demonstrate that we are a government for the whole of the United Kingdom.
“And that would mean acting very differently to the way they have acted over the last couple of years.”
We’re just waiting for a result in the Vale of Glamorgan now. This is currently a Labour and independent run seat but it actually elected more Conservatives in 2017 before a falling out saw many of them leave the party and set up their own independent group.
Therefore, it was expected to return the Conservatives as the largest party at this election. But heavy Labour gains elsewhere (such as nearby Cardiff and further afield in Monmouthshire) has now put that in some doubt.
It’s now looking like a catastrophically bad day for the Conservatives in Wales. Whatever political trend began with the unexpected Labour resurgence at last year’s Senedd election seems to have continued here.
And it seems to suggest that Wales is diverging politically from England too, as Labour has overall failed to make significant progress over the border.
Brutal Results so far for Welsh Conservatives:
🌹 LAB: 280 (+50)
ℹ️ IND: 214 (-16)
🌼 PLC: 116 (+3)
🌳 CON: 66 (-50)
🔶 LDM: 43 (+8)
🌍 GRN: 5 (+5)
— Election Maps UK (@ElectionMapsUK) May 6, 2022
The political earthquake in Northern Ireland seems to be confirmed – Sinn Féin has won 29% of the first preference vote in the Assembly election, with their main rivals the Democratic Unionists receiving 21.3 %.
Interestingly Sinn Féin’s vote had been expected to drop despite their coming first in the polls, but first preferences are up 1%. The DUP has seen a drop of 7%, which isn’t as bad as the 10% predicted.
But these are just first preferences in an STV election and there are many more second preference votes to count.
Counting will now pause overnight and resume tomorrow.
The final result from Cardiff is:
Labour – 55
Conservative – 11
Lib Dem – 10
Plaid/Green Alliance – 2
Propel – 1
Labour won 38 seats in 2017, and the Conservatives 21. So that’s an amazing result on top of what was already a majority, and a big collapse by the Conservatives in a city where they have a good tradition of winning Westminster and Senedd elections.
Along with the Tories’ collapse in London, it’s clear that wherever they’re offering at the moment, it’s not impressing urban voters.
It seems that the candidate that lost by a landslide 95% in Gwynedd, winning 27 votes to his opponent’s 548, was a campaigner against a second homes tax.
Given that he manages to misspell Gwynedd in his statement and his son misspells Llŷn Peninsula, I must admit to not being entirely surprised by the outcome.
My father stood for election on the Lynn Peninsula in North Wales yesterday, he got a lot of stick on social media but he wanted to raise an important principle of affordable housing for local people in an economy often reliant on tourism & 2nd homes. https://t.co/s1uJXAKq8Y
— Charles Fifield (@charlesfifield) May 6, 2022
Just to finish off one sub-plot that has been bubbling away on the pages of Nation.Cymru – the three Conservative candidates who put out a leaflet promising to ‘oppose divisive Welsh language demands’.
The leaflet was sent out by Jonathon Martin, Stephen Senior and Adrian Lang who are standing in the Panteg Ward, Torfaen.
The ward elected three members and there were only six candidates, but they all missed out.
Ooh, there is actually some bad news for Welsh Labour in this election. They have lost control of Neath Port Talbot council, thanks in the main to gains by independents – their nemesis across the valleys.
Labour have won 25 seats, having won 37 back in 2017. Plaid Cymru are on 12 seats and the independents on 16, meaning that it would be feasible for Plaid Cymru to set up an administration with the independents.
The Greens also won a seat and the Liberal Democrats two, and they may want ‘in’ on a coalition too. Or they may prop up Labour.
The final result in Carmarthenshire, where Plaid Cymru won overall control, was:
Plaid Cymru 38
That compares to 37 for Plaid Cymru, 17 for Labour, 1 Conservative and 18 independents in 2017.
Labour did gain quite a bit of ground, therefore, some of it at Plaid Cymru’s expense, but it wasn’t enough to come close to control of the county as one pollster predicted.
Your first thought is that Plaid Cymru council leader Emlyn Dole must be absolutely gutted to lose his seat after leading the party to a larger victory.
Meanwhile, Alex Salmond of the Alba Party has said that he remains “undaunted” despite failing to have any councillors elected in Scotland. The party put up 111 candidates.
Given that even alternative independence parties Propel and Gwlad managed to get councillors elected here in Wales, perhaps he needs a rethink.
In Scotland, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has hailed “incredible” results for her party, who have won 22 additional seats on top of the 453 they had already.
“Our opponents are scrapping it out for second place and Labour will be pleased to have taken second place from the Tories, although I think that’s more to do with the disastrous performance of the Tories than it is to do with any genuine advance for Labour,” she said.
As for Labour – well, this November they will have been electorally dominant in Wales for over 100 years. And if anything rather than falling away they’re tightening the screws, and winning in places like Monmouthshire you would think was nailed on Conservative territory. It now looks like 2019 was a high watermark of Conservative support and it may well take an entire electoral generation until they’re in as strong a position to challenge Labour’s dominance in Wales again.
What will play of Conservative minds however is that the blue tide seems to have gone out a bit faster than perhaps it should have, and whether a change of Prime Minister could have made – or would make – a difference.
What to make of Plaid Cymru’s performance? They have gained overall control of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Anglesey, which is a good result for them, particularly in the face of a resurgent Labour and Lib Dem challenge. They’ve also gained ground in Wrexham.
However, they’re only up five seats overall, which betrays the fact that elsewhere the results haven’t been great so far. They’ve lost ground in many councils such as Pembrokeshire and in the valleys. There has been no breakthrough for the Plaid Cymru / Green alliance in Cardiff as of yet.
As at the 2019 and 2021 Westminster and Senedd elections it feels as if they’re constructing an electoral fortress in the Fro Gymraeg but not having much success outside of it.
Perhaps post-Covid, when they were prepared to strongly criticise Westminster and deviate from the UK Government, Welsh Labour has simply stolen their clothes as the small ‘n’ Welsh nationalist option across much of the rest of the country?
Labour think they’re on course to win around 50 seats in Cardiff, compared to 39 in 2017. It could take a while longer to eke out the remaining seats across Wales as some of the staff counting head home for the day. The position of most councils across Wales is by now clear, however, with just the Vale of Glamorgan, Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf yet to entirely take shape.
While the Conservatives are licking their wounds the Liberal Democrats are revelling in their success in Powys, where they emerged as the largest party.
They unseated the incumbent leader of Powys County Council. Independent Rosemary Harris, who was beaten by Liberal Democrat candidate Jackie Charlton in the Llangattock and Llangynidr ward.
Other notable results include the election of Glyn Preston to Llanidloes who at 22 is the youngest councillor elected in Powys since at least reorganization in 1995.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “The results today in Powys really are seismic and the Welsh Liberal Democrats now have the highest number of councillors on the council ever.
“These results not only put us in a strong position for local Government, but shows that the work we have been doing to rebuild the party as a serious political force in Powys is working and we will be looking forward to Westminster elections.”
Party leaders are starting to take stock of the results so far.
Andrew RT Davies, previously very loyal to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has said that “the national headlines were challenging” during the election.
“Boris Johnson has my support, but he has to use the summer months now to make sure that he can build the confidence of the party, the confidence of the people to take us forward into the next general election campaign,” he told the BBC.
Independent Keith Evans holds Llandysul South. Plaid Cymru had thrown quite a bit at this seat, after losing it in 2017, including a visit from party leader Adam Price. Llandysul North is yet to declare.
The final result in Flintshire will not be known until Saturday, because of a recount. Labour has won 29 seats and independents 28 on the council, which has 67 seats. Counting will resume in the morning.
The final count in Pembrokeshire is:
2 Lib Dems
That’s a disappointing result for Plaid Cymru who have fallen from six, while everyone else has largely held their ground. Labour have gained from seven to 10.
Labour have won a majority on Cardiff Council. That’s not a huge surprise given that they held the council already and were expected to have a resurgence, but they seem to have taken additional seats from their political opponents, particularly the Conservatives.
Labour have also won back Bridgend after losing overall control in 2017. After a mixed bag of a start, it’s now looking like a very good day for them in Wales on par with last year’s Senedd election.
Incredible news that Labour will be the largest party on Monmouthshire Council. They’ve won 21 seats so far to 17 for the Conservatives, with two seats left to decide. That’s the biggest story of this election in Wales.
It’s worth remembering that Monmouthshire was one of the few counties in Wales that voted to remain in the EU. Perhaps this result has been festering for a while.
I think we have our biggest landslide in Wales – and perhaps beyond.
Angela Ann Russel of Plaid Cymru has defeated Conservative John Grant Fifield in Llanbedrog gyda Mynytho by 548 votes to 27 – that’s 95% of the vote.
Does this mean Gwlad and Propel will have to be represented at the next Senedd election debate? After all, Abolish were at the last one and they had never had anyone elected at all.
The mind boggles!
Former Plaid Cymru Senedd Member Neil McEvoy has been re-elected in Fairwater. It’s a first council seat for his new party Propel, and joins Gwlad – elected in Llanrhystud, Ceredigion earlier – in the field of alternative pro-Welsh independence parties.
FAIRWATER: Labour gain two seats, Propel hold one
Another shock result, Neil McEvoy has kept his seat by the skin of his teeth, but Labour took the other two Propel seats in the ward pic.twitter.com/4r28phrSee
— Alex Seabrook (@AlexGSeabrook) May 6, 2022
Elsewhere in Cardiff, Labour have won the two seats now available in Llanishen, previously represented by four Conservative incumbents.
Well, it’s been a night of council leaders losing their seats here in Wales. We’ve had Powys and Caerphilly, and previous Merthyr leader Kevin O’Neill…
The latest is Emlyn Dole, Plaid Cymru leader in Carmarthenshire who loses his seat in Llannon. That will be disappointing for them on what hasn’t been too bad a day for Plaid Cymru across the county, with 30 seats so far.
Another seat in Carmarthenshire was lost to Plaid Cymru by the toss of a coin after both candidates in the Bigyn ward, David Darkin and fellow Labour candidate Philip Warlow, got 596 votes. The Labour candidate chose correctly.
The overnight results from England didn’t look too bad for the Conservatives but it’s fair to say that things have turned progressively worse for them as the day has gone on.
They have now lost 27 seats in Wales. The Lib Dems becoming the largest party in Powys, plunging to fourth in Denbighshire, and potentially losing Monmouth to Labour, would cause them huge concern. These are areas with Conservative MPs that have previously been very loyal to Boris Johnson.
Of more concern than Wales perhaps will be councils in the south of England like Somerset, where the Liberal Democrats have won 56 seats on the 110-member authority. That may well make a few think that even if Boris Johnson is putting down new electoral roots in parts of the north of England and north-east of Wales, he is pulling them out of the Tory bedrock in their traditional heartland.
Labour has held Rhondda Cynon Taf council, winning 41 so far of the 53 seats declared, out of 73 in total. Plaid Cymru have eight so far and there are four independents, and no Conservatives as of yet.
Last time there were 47 Labour councillors, 17 Plaid Cymru, and seven independents. There were also three Conservatives.
Labour have also kept hold of Newport and Torfaen. All four sitting Conservative councillors in Torfaen were ousted.
Despite the leader of the council Philippa Marsden losing her seat in a huge independent landslide (does anyone know what she had done to deserve such a trouncing?) Labour have secured a majority on Caerphilly council with 41 seats in the bag so far.
The numbers of councillors have been cut from 73 to 69 so everyone will be down a bit, apart from the independents who will retain at least six councillors. There are a few seats left to declare.
Plaid Cymru are down from 18 to 13 at the moment. As in the last Westminster and Senedd elections, there is little evidence of Plaid Cymru gaining ground outside their strongholds, apart from in Wrexham.
With two seats left to declare it looks like Labour will have lost seats in Flintshire, down from 34 to 28-30. The Conservatives will also be down from six to 2-4. It’s the march of the independents and doesn’t tell us a huge amount about what is at a Westminster level two Labour-Tory ‘Red Wall’ swing seats – Delyn and Alyn and Deeside.
ITV’s Adran Masters is hearing that, incredibly, there may be a Labour majority in Monmouthshire. That would be disastrous for the Conservatives who previously ran the council and probably one of the big stories of the night across the UK (OK, let’s face it, it’ll never get as much attention as London’s councils).
To put this in context, the Conservatives currently run Monmouthshire with 25 seats to Labour’s 10. That’s a big mountain to climb for Labour and I don’t know how much expectation management / adrenaline is involved in these predictions.
The Conservatives hold the seat of Monmouth quite comfortably at Senedd and Westminster level. It’s also the only council they hold (or held) with overall control in all of Wales.
The results from Cardiff are starting to come through at a canter and it’s almost all Labour so far. In Plasnewydd they have once again won all four seats in the ward.
The Conservatives are warning that they may be looking at some major losses in the city, although they do have three councillors elected in Pontprennau and Radyr wards on the outer edges of the city.
It looks like Labour had good reason to be very confident earlier, however.
Plaid Cymru have won overall control of Anglesey.
Confirmation came as Talybolion returned three Plaid Cymru members – all women, including the council leader Llinos Medi.
That’s a very good result for them. This was a new ward and the independent Kenneth Pritchard Hughes was expected to put in a strong showing, but came fourth with 12% of the votes. Again the Conservative candidates barely mustered a few percentage points of the vote between them, despite the island having a Conservative MP.
How many councils represented by an MP of a particular stripe don’t have any councillors from that party?
Whatever happens elsewhere I think that Plaid Cymru can probably safely say now that it’s been at least a decent day for them, even if that just means digging in further behind their ‘green dam’ as they did in 2019 and 2021.
Gymaint o ferched yn cael hethol mewn un ward a’r oedd ar y cyngor yn ei gyfanrwydd cyn heddiw. https://t.co/lRbAhTtQVb
— Gareth Wyn Williams (@GarethWyn84) May 6, 2022
The final standings are coming through thick and fast now.
In Powys it’s:
Lib Dems – 24
Independents – 17
Conservative – 14
Labour – 9
Plaid Cymru – 3
Green Party – 1
That’s a big gain for the Liberal Democrats who are up from 14, and bears out the predictions that they could be looking at a bit of a resurgence here. Curiously the Conservatives are also up one, however, so it hasn’t been at their expense.
It’s the various independent groups who have lost ground, on 17 compared to 33.
Claire Mills, formerly Abolish the Assembly’s only councillor, retains her seat but as an independent.
Plaid Cymru stand still and Labour are up one.
In Merthyr Tydfil, Wales’ smallest council with a population of 60,424, it’s a tie – both Labour and the independents have won 15 seats each. I’m sure they will all have a cosy cwtch and this result won’t cause any falling out at all.
There are two different independent groups on the council, one of which broke away from the other independent group after a disagreement to become doubly independent, so there are going to be some interesting discussions to be had over the next few days.
There is better news for Plaid Cymru in Ceredigion from Aberystwyth Morfa & Glais, with Plaid Cymru taking both seats quite comfortably. This was a new ward making up much of central Aberystwyth so no one was quite sure how it would go and a strong challenge from the Liberal Democrats was expected here.
Unlike nearby – larger and more rural – Llanfarian however, Plaid Cymru have held on here with both Plaid candidates scoring 29 and 23% to the closest Lib Dems’ 12%.
Denbighshire has given us the kind of narrative that was expected by some going into the election, which was a Conservative slump against Labour.
Labour has become the biggest party winning 19 of the 48 seats. Meanwhile, the Tories have gone from 15 to six seats.
Boris Johnson made a high profile visit to Denbighshire during the local election campaign which may raise further questions about his leadership.
Labour have taken back control of Blaenau Gwent council, with 21 Labour councillors elected compared with 12 Independents. Council leader Nigel Daniels was among those to lose his seat. He is the third council leader to lose his seat so far after the leaders of Caerphilly and Powys.
It means that Labour will have at least one real result to point to in order to show they are making electoral progress, and it might be mentioned in a UK context too on a day where there isn’t perhaps as much as Labour expected to point to elsewhere.
In Northern Ireland, DUP MP Ian Paisley has said there will be no devolved government there while issues around the Northern Ireland Brexit Protocol remain unresolved.
If, as it looks like, Sinn Fein does become the largest party, the DUP will simply refuse to share power with them and therefore no executive will be formed.
If the Alliance Party finishes second in the election rather than the DUP, they could not nominate a deputy First Minister as the rules of the St Andrew’s Agreement say that the deputy First Minister must come from the second largest designation rather than party – either Irish nationalist, British nationalist or ‘other’.
Even if Alliance, who fall into ‘other’, did become the second-largest party British nationalists would still be the second-largest designation.
Labour leader Keir Starmer is to be investigated by police amid allegations that he broke lockdown rules last year, following receipt of “significant new information”, Durham Constabulary said.
There may well be eyebrows raised about the timing of that announcement, just a few hours after polls closed in the local elections. Durham Constabulary previously said they did not believe an offence had been established.
A Labour Party spokesman said: “We’re obviously happy to answer any questions there are and we remain clear that no rules were broken.”
Right-leaning Welsh independence party Gwlad have seen their first ever councillor elected, in Llanrhystud, Ceredigion – Gwyn Wigley Evans with 290 votes to the Lib Dem candidate’s Kenneth Bird 194.
Ceredigion has always had the potential to be an interesting council at this election as it has become something of a stronghold for Plaid Cymru at Westminster and Senedd levels due to a drop off in the Liberal Democrat vote. But now that the Lib Dems are seeing some signs of a resurgence over the Cambrian mountains in Powys, would the same thing be true here?
So far, Plaid Cymru have lost Llanfairian where Geraint Hughes of the Lib Dems has beaten Simon Warburton (father of Welsh Youth Parliament member Lloyd Warburton) who was standing after Alun Lloyd-Jones’s retirement. The vote is 524 to 246.
Catherine Hughes has also lost her seat in Ystrad Fflur and Tregaron to an independent candidate. Plaid Cymru have however gained Trefeurig from another independent candidate.
Too few seats have been announced to see any definite patterns yet.
Final results from Gwynedd:
Plaid Cymru – 44 sedd
Independent – 23
Labour – 1
Lib Dems – 1
You have to question why so many seats were uncontested – i.e. essentially handed to Plaid Cymru – in Gwynedd given that where the other parties and independents did have a go they did quite well. The lack of Labour representation in Bangor, in particular, is very strange, especially if the seat is going to be bumped into a more Labour friendly new constituency along with Aberconwy by the next General Election.
Plaid Cymru won’t complain but it’s not exactly a healthy state of affairs. Perhaps we’ll see a shift to larger STV wards by the next election?
Final results from Wrexham:
Annibynnol/Arall – 23 sedd
Llafur – 14
Ceidwadwyr – 9
Plaid Cymru – 9
Lib Dems – 1
Not quite as good for Labour even as Liam Randall suggested below, therefore. Similar to the north of England where they have shown a few signs of a comeback since 2017 but not many. On the other hand, quite a breakthrough for Plaid Cymru.
There is an interesting result from Flintshire which is of course one of the ‘red wall’ seats where Labour need to be seen to make progress. In Connah’s Quay Central there was quite a bit of internal politics at work as Bernie Attridge was a former Labour deputy leader of the council. If 2019 he was sacked from the authority’s ruling cabinet by leader Aaron Shotton who served the same ward.
He has had his revenge here returning as an independent candidate and winning the seat with 780 votes. Another independent, Debbie Owen, is also elected while the two Labour candidates lose out.
Labour seem to have done fairy well in Flintshire outside of the Connah’s Quay area, however. But it could be a mixed result for them because of this in-fighting.
So, the narrative going into this election was the Conservatives potentially getting a shellacking. That hasn’t really materialised in England (outside of London) and not yet in Wales, as many of the councils that have delivered results have had minimal Conservative councillors anyway.
However, there are dark clouds on the horizon for the Tories with briefings that they’re in trouble in Monmouth, the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.
In Cardiff Labour are very chirpy indeed, briefing that they may win as many as two-thirds of the council seats there, making gains against both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats (who have been resurgent in Powys). This is usually a time for expectation management so they probably wouldn’t be saying this if they weren’t quite confident of it.
Wrexham’s seats are almost all declared and the Local Democracy Service’s Liam Randall thinks this will be the final tally:
By my reckoning this is the new make up of Wrexham Council after the election.
Independent – 21
Labour – 15
Conservative – 9
Plaid Cymru – 9
Non-aligned – 1
Liberal Democrats – 1
— Liam Randall (@LiamRandallLDR) May 6, 2022
That’s a gain of four for Plaid Cymru, almost doubling their number on 2017. Labour meanwhile are up four, and the Conservatives up one. That’s progress for Labour but as in England not exactly the kind of result that gives them absolute certainty that they’re on the right track in a ‘Red Wall’ seat coming up to a General Election.
It’ll effectively be up to the independents here to pick and choose who to work with.
We won’t know until Cardiff start to declare their results how Neil McEvoy’s Propel party have done overall. But Peter Read, who defected from Plaid Cymru to them last year, has lost his seat to independent candidate Richard Glyn Roberts in Aberaerch. Despite publicly joining Propel however, Peter Read was actually also standing as an independent here.
Actor and comedian Mici Plwm (of ‘Plwmsan’ fame) was also standing for Plaid Cymru but came third.
There is worse news for Plaid Cymru in Crymych & Mynachlog-Ddu, Pembrokshire where last year’s Senedd candidate Cris Tomos has lost his Crymych seat to independent Shon Midway Rees.
This was a seat where the boundaries had changed from last time, when Cris Tomos scored a shock victory, beating previous deputy leader Keith Lewis.
Bad news for fans of novelist Myfanwy Alexander who has lost her seat on Powys council in the new seat of Banwy, Llanfihangel and Llanwddyn (she was previously elected as an independent to Banwy). She was the Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, Welsh Language and Communications.
This might be good news for fans of her novels and creative work, however, as she may have more time to work on them?
In Gwynedd, Plaid Cymru have already won one more seat than they did in 2017, with 41 seats in total, securing a majority on the council for another five years with 51% of the vote so far.
These include beating prominent Llais Gwynedd councillor Alwyn Gruffydd, who lost his seat in Glaslyn to June Jones from Plaid Cymru.
It’s the first council that can be ‘coloured in’ in Wales. Most will be grey due to no overall control.
The Conservatives were accused of standing a number of ‘paper candidates’ on Anglesey. If true then this doesn’t seem to have come off as a strategy in the wards announced so far with the Tory candidates propping up the table in each one, winning only between 5 and 15% of the vote.
The results so far have only been in quite Plaid Cymru dominated areas however, with nine of the 15 members elected coming from Plaid Cymru.
The Tories don’t have any elected councillors on Anglesey at the moment, which is an odd situation given that the island has a Conservative MP, Virginia Crosbie.
Ouch. Labour’s trouble with independents in the valleys continues. The Labour leader of Caerphilly council has lost her seat to independents by a quite remarkable margin.
Philippa Marsden won 213 votes in Ynysddu while her two independent challengers, Jan Jones and Janine Reed, got 1162 and 1150.
Plaid Cymru have gained the seat of Offa in Wrexham, on top of Smithfield and the new Gwersyllt South mentioned earlier, which suggests they are having a good day there. I drove through Wrexham a few days ago and the huge Plaid Cymru billboard near the Racecourse Ground was quite a stand out feature.
I mentioned ‘beyond Offa’s Dyke’ to refer to England earlier in this blog, but perhaps counterintuitively, Offa’s dyke is on the west side of Wrexham. Also, the ward of Offa, named after the community of the same name, is actually named after Wat’s Dyke, not Offa’s.
There were only six votes in it here as Katie Wilkinson with 212 votes beat Alun Jenkins of the Liberal Democrats into second place.
Looking beyond Wales for a moment the most significant result of the day might come in Northern Ireland where the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein might defeat the British nationalist DUP for the first time.
Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O’Neill, who could soon be First Minister of Ireland, has arrived at the Magherafelt count centre and says that it is “early days” but has been a “really, really positive election campaign”.
Given that political parties always get some sense of how the wind is blowing before the counting starts, that does suggests that they feel they’re on track for a similar result to what the polls are predicting.
Michelle O’Neill arrives in Magherafelt count centre. Massive press interest pic.twitter.com/MMJF2SN5Df
— Lisa O’Carroll (@lisaocarroll) May 6, 2022
The Lib Dem train keeping a-rolling in Powys where they have won Newtown North by a single vote after a re-count.
Adam Kennerley of the Lib Dems got 301 votes and Dan Rowlands of the Conservatives 300. Every vote counts!
As well as in Powys there’s bad news for the Conservatives in Monmouthshire where a senior source has told the BBC they fear they will be “convincingly defeated”. This might, of course, just be expectations management and when they lose their majority there by a smaller margin they will be able to spin it as something of a victory.
Over to Wrexham where a huge pile of results have been dumped on us all at once. But they’re very interesting ones!
The ward of Ponciau was identified in the run-up to the election as one that needed watching. This previous two member ward elected one Labour and one independent member. Now it only elects one and has gone for the independent, Paul Pemberton. This may be a sign that Labour aren’t winning back quite the amount of ground they need to challenge the Conservative and independent majority running the council.
Elsewhere, Plaid Cymru have gained Smithfield and the new Gwersyllt South. Labour have so far gained only one ward, Cefn West.
Having slated Anglesey and Ceredigion for their tardiness in the previous post we have a result from both. Two Plaid Cymru and an independent elected in Lligwy, Anglesey. That’s one gain for Plaid Cymru from an independent there.
In Ceredigion, Plaid Cymru have won two seats in Penparcau – that’s a gain and a hold.
Penparcau was where the Liberal Democrat councillor was thrown out / had to leave the party last year for suggesting immigrants were to blame for pressure on the ambulance service.
Some councils such as Carmarthenshire, Flintshire and Gwynedd seem to be racing ahead with their results whereas in some cases such as Cardiff, Anglesey and Ceredigion we’re yet to hear much of a peep results-wise.
From the limited results we have so far, Plaid Cymru seems to be holding up well in Carmarthenshire, the Liberal Democrats have scored a couple of good results in Powys including unseating the previous party leader, and Labour are confident in Blaenau Gwent and Flintshire and making modest gains elsewhere. The Tories meanwhile have said that they have concerns, particularly in the north-east of the country.
There have been some tight and not so tight election results. Glynog Davies of Plaid Cymru has won Cwarter Bach in Carmarthenshire by 18 votes. Labour held Holywell Central in Flintshire by one vote. In Y Bala Dilwyn Morgan won his seat for Plaid Cymru with 88% of the vote, by a whopping 618 votes to the Green Party’s 88.
The latest from the Powys count at the Royal Welsh showground in Llanelwedd where the ‘crushed into the cube’ party could soon be making gains on the ‘car’ party.
Calls for owners of cars – to move them as they are blocking access to the Showground – warning that count could stop unless moved – and a forklift could be used to move them!
— Elgan Hearn Local Democracy Reporter (@ElganHearnLDR) May 6, 2022
Another very interesting result and a narrow win in Caernarfon, Gwynedd.
Coj Parry from Labour has won the new seat of Hendre, which makes up the south-west of the town, beating Anna Jane Evans from Plaid Cymru by 310 votes to 303.
This was one of Labour’s only chances of winning a single council seat in Gwynedd and they’ve pulled it off.
Caernarfon is the most Welsh speaking town in Wales, solid Plaid Cymru territory electorally, and the seat of the county council so this may not count that much in the grand scheme of things in terms of control of the council but will probably sting a little.
Having just posted news of Plaid Cymru having a spring in their step and Labour more cautious in Carmarthenshire, news comes in of the result in Glanamman. This was another of the 23 wards to watch identified by Dr Dafydd Trystan.
Labour’s Emyr Rees have just won the seat from Plaid Cymru’s David Jenkins with 56% of the vote to 44%. Labour were targeting seats in the Amman Valley to make gains and this result suggests that they have had some success in that.
— Lee Waters MS (@Amanwy) May 6, 2022
More from Carmarthenshire where Plaid Cymru are now suggesting that a majority might be within their grasp and Labour are dampening down expectations, saying it will be difficult for them to stay still let alone gain new councillors. It’s early days of course and Plaid Cymru have counted their chickens before they’ve hatched in the past (see Aberconwy in last year’s Senedd elections) but it suggests we may not see the kind of Labour gains here that a party with real late-90s esque momentum perhaps should be mustering. If Plaid Cymru really can win additional seats here it could point to decent results for them overall. We saw a similar phenomenon at last year’s Senedd elections and the 2019 elections however where Plaid Cymru did very well in their traditional heartlands but stood still or went backwards elsewhere.
We suggested that Powys was one to watch and a big result has just come in which is that the leader of the council, Rosemarie Harris, has lost her seat in Llangatwg to the Liberal Democrats.
Lib Dem Jackie Charlton has won the seat from the independent candidate by 541 to 455 votes.
Alongside that big William Powell win below that seems to point at a Lib Dem resurgence here as we’ve seen over the border in England.
No sign of Council Leader Rosemarie Harris – when her loss was announced. pic.twitter.com/AvsEnybki4
— Elgan Hearn Local Democracy Reporter (@ElganHearnLDR) May 6, 2022
Former Labour Carmarthenshire leader Kevin Madge has retained his seat, the first to be declared in Labour’s favour so far. Carmarthenshire is one county where Labour has been hoping to make real gains at this year’s elections. It’s not just the county at stake here as there are a number of competitive Westminster and Senedd seats – Llanelli, Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr and Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire – that overlap with the boundaries of the county council. Those include the seats of Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, Conservative Welsh Secretary Simon Hart, as well as Labour’s Welsh Government deputy minister Lee Waters and UK Labour’s Shadow Minister for International Trade Nia Griffith.
So there are some big political beasts across three parties here who will want to see their own parties hold up or gain seats in this competitive county.
An interesting result from Talgarth in Powys. This was one of our 23 wards to watch in Wales.
This seat would be an indication of the strength of the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in Powys, where former Senedd Member William Powell was facing Peter Weavers, a former chair of the Conservatives in Brecon & Radnor. This was something of a heavyweight bout, therefore.
The result of 588 votes for William Powell and just 203 for Peter Weavers might be an indication that it could be a good day for the Liberal Democrats in Powys, where they had been hoping to stage something of a resurgence.
The county is currently controlled by Conservatives working with independents.
Can we have daytime counts for all elections, please?
— Liam Randall (@LiamRandallLDR) May 5, 2022
Liam Randall of the Local Democracy Service asks whether we can have daytime counts for all elections. I must admit that I was rather opposed to this when first introduced for Senedd elections as I thought it marked them out as being ‘second order’ compared to Westminster, with the suggestion that knowing the result just wasn’t as important or urgent. However I think that last year’s Senedd daytime count worked very well and involved many more people than unusual in the drama of the election count, and with lower turnouts at local and Senedd elections we all know that they really need to capture the imaginations of as many people as possible.
Flintshire was one of our council areas to watch partly to keep an eye on how Labour would do versus a growing cohort of independents after a falling out in the council there. Labour have now lost their first seat to the independents, with Roz Mansell beating Labour’s
Martin White into second place by 250 votes to 233. Flintshire is key ‘Red Wall’ territory in Wales where Labour lost Delyn and came close to losing Alyn and Deeside at the 2019 Westminster election so the party would want to see decent signs of progress there.
Swansea, where Labour has a large majority and has run the council for a decade, has begun returning its first councillors. Among them is Swansea council Conservative leader Lyndon Jones.
You can read an interview on the ambitions of Swansea Council’s Labour leader, Rob Stewart, here.
There’s another Plaid Cymru ‘gain’ of sorts in Carmarthenshire where Thomas Arwel Joseph Davies has won a seat in Cilycwm, partly from himself as he was the independent councillor there elected in 2017.
Plaid Cymru have also won the Abergwili, Betws, and Cynwyl Elfed wards.
Carmarthenshire was/is a council where Labour was/is expecting to make gains, with one polling company going so far as explicitly predicting they would win control of the council.
The first interesting result has come in from Gwynedd and it’s a gain for Plaid Cymru, with Arwyn ‘Herald’ Roberts winning Tryfan for Plaid Cymru from Llais Gwynedd’s Aeron Jones by 315 votes to 136. Plaid Cymru already had majority control of Gwynedd council with 40/75 seats, while Llais Gwynedd had six.
Canlyniad mawr cynta’r dydd o’r cyfri yng Nghaernarfon gyda Arwyn (Herald) Roberts yn cipio sedd Tryfan i Blaid Cymru gyda 315 pleidlais. Aeron Jones yn colli’i sedd gyda 136 pleidlais. Lari Parc yn drydydd gyda 75 pleidlais yn y ward newydd hon. #Gwynedd pic.twitter.com/scDUwxE9gw
— Gareth Wyn Williams (@GarethWyn84) May 6, 2022
Llais Gwynedd were set up in 2008 in opposition to Plaid Cymru plans to close small rural schools in the county, winning 13 seats in elections that year.
Plaid Cymru has also won the Peblig ward in Caernarfon and the Glyder ward in Bangor. The wards have changed a bit in Gwynedd with boundary reorganisation but these were both Plaid Cymru strongholds.
The BBC have produced an interesting stat comparing the parties’ share of the vote in the councils counted so far in England with the results in 2017. In London Labour are up 2%, in the north of England they’re down 2%.
The story at these elections, in England at least, seems to be one of stasis for Labour rather than a resurgence. I suppose the argument that could be made is that Labour were on a downwards trajectory in 2017 but on an upwards one now after the disastrous 2019 General Election.
The Conservatives are down -4% in London and -3% in the north of England so far. That’s not great but considering the torrid few months the party has had, not terrible for them either.
With the Bank of England forecasting an economic downturn, might Boris Johnson be tempted to go for an early General Election, before the economy, and his poll ratings, really go south?
Some of the more interesting results today will come from Cardiff, where Labour are defending a narrow majority. Due to the economic and demographic diversity in Cardiff this is a fight being fought on several fronts against many different challengers. Will the Plaid Cymru / Green alliance make headway? Will a resurgent Liberal Democrats, who still have 11 councillors despite their problems elsewhere in Wales and have seen decent results in England, take additional seats? And how will the Labour / Conservative battle go in better-off areas of the city like Whitchurch? Will Propel get any momentum?
And perhaps key to Labour’s overall control there, will their results look more like London, where they are up, or more like areas outside of London, where they have so far been down slightly? Or will elections in Wales look completely different again?
This article sketched out some of the five key battlegrounds in Cardiff where the election could be won or lost.
While Labour and the Conservatives continue to spin the results, a much more impartial voice is Prof Sir John Curtice who confirms that it was a mixed bag of results for Labour, with their vote up in London but actually slightly down in many areas.
“The trouble is, outside of London, Labour share of the vote was actually down slightly,” he told BBC News.
“In terms of seats won and lost, while it’s made net gains in London, it’s actually made a slight net loss outside of London. So outside of London it’s a rather different story. And of course, Labour can’t win Westminster parliament by simply winning Westminster council.”
The question for Welsh Labour is whether, as in the Senedd results last year, it will continue to diverge from England and see much better results in Wales than across Offa’s Dyke.
Labour and the Conservatives are both desperately spinning the mixed bag of results in England, where Labour did well in some areas but significantly less well in others.
One odd result in the north of England that Labour are pointing to is Cumberland, where Labour won a comfortable majority in the newly-created authority which covers an area all currently represented by Conservative MPs. This isn’t exactly ‘Red Wall’ territory – it’s too far north and too rural – but Labour will say that it shows that they can win in the north of England.
It’s not a result that fits familiar narratives around semi-urban towns but it might suggest that, alongside the Liberal Democrats making headway in traditionally Conservative rural and semi-rural areas elsewhere in the UK, the Conservatives have a bit of a rural issue. Might we see that replicated in places like Powys in Wales?
It’s past 9am so counting will now have begun across Wales. It’s worth remembering that 74 of Wales’ 1,234 seats are uncontested, because only one candidate put their name forward. The Electoral Reform Society have said that this means that 106,000 Welsh voters did not have a vote at all.
This is quite a unique situation in a pan-British context (only one seat is uncontested in England and a handful in Scotland). The Electoral Reform Society has said that Welsh councils should now move to a Single Transferable Vote model of elections which sees larger wards with multiple candidates, as already happens in Scotland.
There may also be questions about whether we need so many councils and councillors in the first place. Wales has the same number of councillors as Scotland – just over 1,200 – despite only being only two thirds the size. That inevitably means smaller wards and therefore an increased chance that no one will put their name forward.
The most uncontested county across Britain is Gwynedd, where 28 of the council’s 69 seats – just over 40% – saw only one person put themselves forward for election.
In another Welsh council, Pembrokeshire, 19 of the 60 seats are uncontested, comprising 10 independents, four Tories, four Labour candidates and one from Plaid Cymru.
Wrexham council has eight of its 56 seats uncontested, along with seven out of 68 in Powys, five of 38 in Ceredigion, three of 60 in Neath Port Talbot, one of 48 in Denbighshire and one of 75 in Carmarthenshire.
The figures mean around 6% of all council seats up for election in Wales on May 5 have already been filled, compared with 1% in Scotland.
If you would like a broad overview of where your focus should be in Wales during the day, and when, these articles might be useful.
The top 10 councils to keep an eye on as Wales’ local election results are counted – read here.
The top 23 most interesting wards to watch in Wales at the 2022 local elections – read here.
Wales’ local elections: When will the results be announced for your area? – read here.
These local elections may well have been forgotten within a week but what is happening in Northern Ireland will likely be remembered for a long, long time.
Polls suggest that the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein could become the largest party for the first time, beating the British nationalist DUP into second or even third place.
A unionist party has always been the biggest in the Assembly, and previously the Stormont Parliament, since the state / province / territory was formed in 1921.
The DUP won 28 seats at the last Assembly elections in 2017, just ahead of Sinn Fein which returned 27 MLAs.
The counting there has now begun but is expected to last into the early hours of Saturday. But we should get some sense if the polls are right before then.
If they are it is going to be a political earthquake in Northern Ireland that the rest of the UK hasn’t really paid enough attention to see coming. After all the focus on Scottish independence, the break-up of the UK (if it happens) could start somewhere else entirely.
One interesting sub-plot today might be the Liberal Democrats, and whether they show any signs of a comeback in Wales after being on a political life-support machine with no MPs and no Senedd Members until they won one regional Senedd seat this time last year.
It has been a good night for the Liberal Democrats in England so far, winning a wafer-thin majority in Hull, dislodging Labour who had run the council since 2011. The new line-up is 29 Lib Dems, 27 Labour and one independent.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are also fighting for control of the new unitary authority in Somerset, while the Lib Dems hope to strengthen control of St Albans and cause an upset in Tory-run Gosport. That could tell us whether they are making inroads into the Tories’ ‘Blue Wall’ in the south-west of England.
If they are doing well in England it might indicate that they have fully disinfected themselves after their coalition government years and regained their mantle as the protest vote that could entice more culturally and economically liberal conservative voters.
The key council to watch in Wales in this regard will be Powys where Lib Dem leader Ed Davey visited during the election campaign. If there are signs of a Welsh Lib Dem revival they will be seen there.
One key element that could decide Boris Johnson’s fate is whether his party shows a great loss of support in so-called ‘Red Wall’ seats. These will include parts of Wales such as Wrexham where the Conservatives won eight seats in 2017 and are part of the governing coalition.
Early indications from England suggest that the picture will be mixed.
One seat Labour had hoped for signs of a comeback in was Bolton, Greater Manchester, a council where they enjoyed a majority until 2019.
But while the party has gained two seats this time, the Conservatives also made a gain and remain the largest party with 23 councillors, ahead of Labour’s 19, 13 independents and five Liberal Democrats.
There had been a general feeling in the run-up to these elections that the Conservative party were waiting before they were over before moving on Boris Johnson, so that any new leader wasn’t tainted by what were expected to be bad results.
But senior Tories seem to be swinging behind their Prime Minister this morning.
Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden said that while the party had suffered some “difficult results” it was not the time to replace their leader.
“Labour are certainly not on the path to power and I believe that Boris Johnson does have the leadership skills, in particular the energy and the dynamism that we need during this difficult period of time,” he told Sky News.
A No 10 insider has briefed: “Overall, across the UK the Conservatives have so far done better than expected.”
‘Across the UK’ of course meaning those few parts of England that have counted their votes so far. That feeling could of course change as results continue to roll in from elsewhere in England, as well as from Wales and Scotland.
In the comments, one user (Dai Rob) asks: “What time is McEvoy losing losing his seat and then disappearing from Twitter for a while? (like last year!)”
Whether McEvoy scores a win or a loss, results from Cardiff are due in around 5pm today. You can find a full list of declaration times here.
Former Senedd Member Neil McEvoy is once again standing under the Propel banner at this year’s elections, after a disappointing third place for him at last year’s Senedd elections in Cardiff West. How Propel does in Cardiff will be one of many intriguing sub-plots as the council results start to roll in this afternoon.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I will try my best to answer them!
The general feeling coming through from looking at results in England overnight is that things were particularly bruising for the Conservatives in urban areas such as London but perhaps not as bad elsewhere.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse told the BBC: “The further away you get from London, our sense is that the picture is better for us.”
The problem for the Conservatives looking forward is that areas directly to the south and towards the south-west of London – the so-called ‘blue wall’ – are essentially their electoral stronghold where the bulk of their MPs come from.
Boris Johnson may be able to win and consolidate support in previously no-go areas for the Conservatives in the north of England and the north-east of Wales but is it worth sacrificing their core vote to branch out into those areas?
Good morning, and welcome to the 2022 Welsh local elections live blog! Please keep checking in throughout the day as we bring you the latest (potentially) exciting political news and results from around the country.
We’re expecting the first results from Wales’ councils to start coming in around 2pm this afternoon, but will no doubt have quite a good sense how the wind is blowing before then.
Wrexham and Carmarthenshire are expected to be the first to declare, with the results from the Vale of Glamorgan last in at 8pm.
These are just approximate times however and the reality could be very different, especially if there are re-counts in a few wards.
We will also be keeping a close eye on what is happening in elections elsewhere – particularly Northern Ireland where polls suggest that Sinn Féin could become the largest party for the first time in a historic victory.
In England, some council areas have already counted overnight with the results pointing to modest Labour gains but not a total Conservative collapse. It will be interesting to see whether Wales bucks this trend in any way. Labour’s big victory at last year’s Senedd election coincided with the Hartlepool by-election which the Conservatives took from Labour with an 8,000 majority. Will politics in Wales and England continue to diverge from each other, or will Labour’s comeback in England mean that they return to being on similar tracks?
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