This article was written by Oliver Sargent, senior account manager at UK Property Forums Devcomms.
The day after the local elections, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, came forward to take full responsibility for his party’s poor performance, describing it as a ‘tough night’.
Mr Johnson would have been hoping for a better outcome in the East of England, especially as historically it has been an area of support for the party. However, similarly to the rest of the country, the Conservatives suffered losses in almost every council, with the party losing control of several key authorities.
Perhaps one of the biggest shocks of the night came in Huntingdonshire, as for the first time since 1976, the party lost control of the council. The new leadership will be taking a different approach, with a liberal coalition being formed between the Liberal Democrats, Independents, Labour, and Green Party.
Over in Essex, the Conservatives would’ve been pleased having maintained control of Basildon and Harlow. The party had only won back both councils in last year’s local elections, so these would have been a target for Labour. One highlight for The Conservatives came in Basildon, as they unseated the Labour Leader, Cllr Jack Ferguson by just 20 votes, as the scrapping of the Local Plan and concerns about development, continue to dominate the local political agenda.
But these successes weren’t reflected across the rest of Essex, as the Conservatives performed badly in Colchester and Castle Point, leading to the party losing control of both councils. Most notably in Castle Point, the Conservatives lost overall control of the council for the first time in nearly two decades, paving the way for The Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP) and the People’s Independent Party (PIP)to form a coalition.
The Liberal Democrats performed particularly well in the East of England, making huge gains in St Albans, and further consolidating their support in South Cambridgeshire.
Whilst the Conservatives suffered heavy losses in the East of England, other parties such as the Liberal Democrats, profited. Over the coming months, it will be interesting to see how some of the key authorities, that have changed hands, perform under a more liberal approach, especially in areas concerning housing, planning and development.
DevComms’ plan showing the changes to political control of authorities across the UK Property Forums regions can be found here. Slide the bar across the plan to see where authorities have changed hands.
Image source: DevComms
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