While Labour’s overall hold across the region didn’t change dramatically, there were some shifts in its control, with key battlegrounds in Trafford, Bolton, Stockport, and Wirral. Liverpool remained led by Labour, however Mayor Joe Anderson came under fire.
RESULTS SO FAR – updated throughout the day
Manchester stayed strongly Labour, although the Liberal Democrats gained a seat in Didsbury West.
Labour held control in Wigan, Tameside, Salford, Rochdale and Oldham, however Bolton, which had been Labour-led for nine years, turned to no overall control, as Labour lost seats and the Tories and Independents gained.
In Trafford, Labour increased its foothold, taking the council from a Labour minority to Labour majority as the Conservatives lost nine seats.
In Stockport, Liberal Democrats gained seats so they are now of an equal size to Labour, who previously had minority control of the council. The coming weeks will see negotiations and potentially coalitions to decide whether the Lib Dems or Labour will control the council. This could have an impact on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, as Stockport’s Lib Dems have traditionally opposed the borough’s Green Belt release.
It was an eventful night in Merseyside.
In Wirral, overall Labour lost two seats, putting the council into no overall control. Greens gained and now have three councillors.
Labour Cllr Angie Davies, former cabinet member for jobs and growth, and advocate of the £1bn Wirral Growth Plan, lost her seat, as did fellow cabinet member Cllr Phill Brightmore.
Council leader Phil Davies was not standing for re-election, and his former Labour seat was lost to the Greens. The new Wirral Council leader is yet to be decided.
In Liverpool, Labour lost three seats, but the most surprising event of the evening was when former Deputy Mayor Ann O’Byrne tabled a motion at the Labour AGM to scrap the role of City Mayor, the position currently held by Joe Anderson.
Labour held its majority in Halton and Sefton, and also held on in St Helens, although it lost seats in Bold, Haydock and Rainhill, areas which have seen the most opposition to the Local Plan.
Knowsley also saw Labour keep control, with the Greens and Independents gaining seats.
Labour retained control and gained seats in Chorley. Burnley went from Labour-led to no overall control, while Pendle went from Conservative led to no overall control. Labour held control in West Lancashire, although the party lost seats to independent group Our West Lancashire.
Warrington held full elections in 2018, so there were no local elections this year.
Cheshire East went from a Conservative council to no overall control for the first time since the authority’s creation. Meanwhile, Cheshire West & Chester also went into no overall control, from a previously Labour-led council.
Labour kept control of Barrow, Lib Dems remain in power in South Lakeland, and Allerdale remained in no overall control, with independent candidates gaining 14 seats. Labour held on to Copeland, and in Carlisle, the council remained in no overall control, although Conservatives took over Labour as the largest party. In Eden, the Conservatives lost their majority, with only four seats between them and the Liberal Democrats and independents, who hold 10 seats each.