Will a Tory town hall victory in May lead to bitter defeat in July?

St Albans Civic Centre: One of the new Tory controlled councils. Pic Credit: St Albans gov.uk

St Albans Civic Centre: One of the new Tory controlled councils. Pic Credit: St Albans gov.uk

This weekend’s Observer contained a very interesting article from Toby Helm revealing that local councils are planning to lobby the government like mad to stop yet another huge wave of cuts.

What was interesting is that it was coming from the victorious Tory leaders in May’s local elections who are now fearful of having to implement heavy unpopular cuts to local services.

It has gone virtually unreported the scale of the local government gains by the Conservatives who gained of 32 councils and 541 more councillors on the back of getting a majority in Parliament. the full results are on the BBC website here.

The gains – many from  no over all control include Amber Valley (from Labour),Basingstoke, Bath,Brentwood, Broxtowe,East Staffs,Gloucester, Gravesham,Hinckley (from Lib Dems),Herefordshire,Lewes, Newark,North Warwickshire,Scarborough,St Albans,Taunton, Warwick, West Devon,Winchester,Worcester and Wyre Forest.

Labour had just three gains, Chester, Stockton-on-tees and West Lancashire but overall lost control of  three councils and lost over 200 councillors.  But this masks the scale of Labour defeat in places locally like Dacorum in Hemel Hempstead where Labour is down to two seats and the Liberal Democrats down to three, with 46 councillors from the Conservatives.The Liberal Democrats lost another 411 councillors and control of four councils, holding on to South Lakeland, Eastleigh and Eastbourne..

UKIP gained their first council in Thanet  where Nigel Farage was defeated and put on another 176 councillors.This council will become a yardstick on how UKIP run local services.

The Conservative victors have every reason to be apprehensive. Local government has borne a disproportionate share of the cuts under the now departed Eric Pickles and George Osborne is introducing an emergency budget in July. The Treasury often prefer to land local government which supplies personal services with big cuts to spare some of the lobbying from anxious Whitehall departments.

I predict that we are going to see some very radical changes to services. Private companies like Capita must be rubbing their hands with glee and many councils may have to follow the London borough of Barnet and outsource the entire council to private companies. People will soon find out that the only way to contact their council will be by a call centre – if they are lucky in England – but if unlucky in Bangalore or Chennai. The Tory victors could end up being defeated by their own austerity policies.

5 thoughts on “Will a Tory town hall victory in May lead to bitter defeat in July?

  1. The golden rule the appearance of something is never its reality is applicable in terms of what the Conservative government now wishes to achieve despite its manifesto, the pressure from within the Party and from without, given the expectation that at best Labour would form a minority or anti Tory coalition, and where the combined impact of parties and cross benchers in the House of Lords will make it very difficult for controversial government legislation to pass without challenge and significant amendment. There are over 100 LIb Dems Members in the House of Lords for example.

    Recognition that despite the national and local election victory in England the Government cannot behave as if its has a UK mandate or a majority to push through its manifesto commitments regardless of opposition has already been shown by the decision of the Prime Minister to formally meet the Leader of Scottish national party in Scotland. The issue which the Palace and the PM will be most concerned is if the Labour Lib Dem wipe out in Scotland is repeated in the elections for the devolved Parliament, hence the two stage approach to reach an initial settlement of greater powers for Scotland Wales and Northern and a solution to the English Question and then in the light of what happens in the elections to the devolved Parliaments tackle the issue of further action to maintain the Union, together with the issues of voting reform, size of the Parliaments particularly in the Houser of Commons and the role of the House of Lords given the boundary reforms which automatically come in unless there is new legislation.

    The government will modify its approach given what happens in the first tests of new legislation with how to settle we stay in Europe as quickly as possible on the back of if we don’t the Scots will call for a new referendum which they will win and the markets, international corporations and financial services. It is also important to remember that because the role of the Opposition is to oppose it does not mean they do and the signs of a new shift in approach can already been seen when for the first time various political leaders in the Commons were invited to welcome the appointment of the Speaker and Gerald Kaufman recognised as the Father of the House although Harriet Harman made the point that she is the Mother and the PM also make the point that she should be the new Leader of the Party.

    In this respect Harriet may well throw her hat into the ring at the last possible moment after she has had opportunity to impress the new intake over the next two weeks. I say this because this time she has resigned as Deputy Leader which she did not do in 2010 because she wanted to remain Deputy. My belief is that if she does not get the backing to become Leader she could well do a Nigel and apply to be the deputy. The unknown issue how her former role at Liberty will play out particularly if she does stand for either lead office. I am convinced that behind the scenes there is a move that the next Labour will be female.


  2. Tories will favour their own councils and discriminate against non tory councils

    Ie rich boroughs will be treated better and poor borough will get treated like crap.
    The Tories will them claim non Tory boroughs of being wasteful and and if services get worse and complaints made
    Any council election will promote council as being wasteful and reckless
    If tories get elected then again they get better treatment and all resources will go there
    With regard to call centres as you stated this will be seem as tory success and how well tories are prudent at local finance


  3. Pingback: Will a Tory town hall victory in May lead to bitter defeat in July? | David Hencke | Vox Political

  4. Pingback: Ticking Time Bomb | Gabriel Vents

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