John Harris

Journalist & Author

Archive for May, 2016

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Why people vote Trump: the death of the American dream – video

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Alongside Donald Trump’s nasty rhetoric, the Republicans’ presidential hopeful has been banging on about one huge issue: US firms increasingly moving jobs abroad, and the country’s rising sense of decline. John Harris watches The Donald win the presumptive nomination in Indiana; tells the story of one doomed factory that has become a Trump cause célèbre; and talks to voters who think he’s the only option – as well as the people who think it’s all a con

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The Sanders effect: talking about a revolution in Baltimore – video

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Bernie Sanders and his supporters have shaken up America with an agenda of addressing inequality, poverty and the deep social problems facing the United States. But what happened when they tried to convince a city defined by those things? John Harris visits Baltimore to sample the aftershocks of 2015’s ‘uprising’ and meets people trying to push politics somewhere new

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UK elections: Jeremy Corbyn declares ‘we hung on’ after mixed night for Labour – as it happened

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Rolling coverage of the London mayor, Scottish parliament, Welsh assembly, Northern Ireland assembly and English councils results

1.59pm BST

Time for me to sign off too. The wonderful Andrew Sparrow is back with a new live blog covering the latest results and analysis. Phew!

1.57pm BST

Boris Johnson has signed off as London mayor as Sadiq Khan looks almost certain to replace him.

1/2 Great to have looked back on Mayoralty this AM & taken your final questions on @LBC #AskBoris – thank you London for the last 8 years

2/2 It’s time to sign off from City Hall – it’s been the most amazing privilege to be your Mayor. You can follow me on @BorisJohnson

70% counted & it looks as though final mayoral result will be a lot earlier than the 2354 of 2012. Khan still ahead pic.twitter.com/pusR6yyc0K

1.49pm BST

Nicola Sturgeon is about to deliver her post-results statement after the SNP surprisingly failed to secure a majority in the Scottish parliament.

The scene outside Bute House, where media of waiting for Nicola Sturgeon to deliver her post-results statement pic.twitter.com/fWnWvoVQpk

1.47pm BST

The overall turnout in the elections in Northern Ireland was almost 55% after fears that it would dip bellow 50%, writes Henry McDonald.

According to the Electoral Office in Northern Ireland the overall number of votes polled across 18 constituencies was 703,744 – a turnout of 54.91%.

1.43pm BST

Here’s video of Cameron’s response to the results.

1.41pm BST

The people of Mid and West Wales have a lot to answer for after returning Neil Hamilton to politics (see earlier).

Here’s Hamilton appearing with his wife Christine on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, getting confused about exactly what country Blackpool is in. Challenged on his Welsh roots, the newly elected Ukip assembly member confidently replies he has strong ties with the country. “Cut me open,” he says “I’d be like a stick of Blackpool Rock.”

1.34pm BST

With more than 70% of the votes counted in London, it is still looking very good for Sadiq Khan.

With ~30% of the vote left to count Sadiq Khan has a comfortable lead over Zac Goldsmith. pic.twitter.com/TXG9MTFIys

Currently 44% v 35% in @SadiqKhan’s favour in race for @MayorofLondon. Tory @zacgoldsmith behind by 9% right now

1.29pm BST

Police are investigating allegations of harassment, intimidation and postal vote fraud against activists for the British National party (BNP) in Pendle, east Lancashire, Helen Pidd understands.

Once a serious electoral force in certain former mill towns in Lancashire, the far-right BNP currently has just one councillor in the whole country, in Pendle. That lone man, Brian Parker, is not up for re-election until 2018, but he was hoping to be joined by a BNP comrade standing in his Marsden ward this time around.

1.27pm BST

Ken Livingstone has denied that his controversial comments about Hitler and Israel, which resulted in his suspension from Labour, damaged the party’s prospects in the local elections, writes Anushka Asthana.

1.06pm BST

John Harris reports on the battle for Plymouth in the latest in our Anywhere but Westminster series.

1.01pm BST

Bookies and pollsters are already calling the London mayoral race for Sadiq Khan.

Sadiq Khan on course to win London. @WEP_UK are beating @georgegalloway Latest votes from @londonelects pic.twitter.com/ZHT33vrPop

Looks like the shrewdies who backed Sadiq Khan to be Mayor at 33/1 a couple of years back are about to get paid out. pic.twitter.com/wpAVMq9Jy8

John Curtice predicting a @SadiqKhan win in the second round 57% to Zac Goldsmith’s 43% #LE2016

12.59pm BST

Robert Booth is at Alexandra Palace where they are counting votes for London mayor.

The terrace provides a spectacular view of the prize on offer for either Sadiq Khan or Zac Goldsmith tonight: London.

12.50pm BST

Labour’s Sadiq Khan has a clear lead over the Tory candidate, Zac Goldsmith, in the race for London mayor after more than half the votes have been counted, according to the official running tally.

Our London blogger, Dave Hill, points out that Khan could pull away further as the current tally has more votes counted in areas where support for Goldsmith is strongest, including Bromley, Bexley, Wandsworth and Havering.

12.39pm BST

Jeremy Corbyn has denied that he had set the bar low for success and claimed Labour had done “far better” than predicted, writes Frances Perraudin.

The Labour leader was speaking to the Guardian at the count centre in Sheffield after celebrating Labour’s byelection win in the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough constituency.

12.33pm BST

Labour MEP Richard Howitt, whose European constituency covers Peterborough, quibbles with Cameron’s boasts in the city.

In an email to the Guardian he writes:

In Peterborough, Labour actually won more councillors than before, going from 11 to 14. We won clean sweeps in two wards which had split results before, and boundary changes mean some constituents have a Labour councillor for the very first time.

“It is also hypocritical of David Cameron to thank Peterborough’s Tory MP when Jackson has opposed the Prime Minister at every step on Europe, recently accusing him of ‘scratching around Peterborough Labour Party for support’.

12.28pm BST

Ken Livingstone has been ranting about Hitler and antisemitism again.

Blimey Ken Livingstone on Sky News… He just mentioned Hitler again!

In all seriousness, what is it in Livingstone’s mind that thinks, still, that he HAS to keep talking about Hitler?

Livingstone accusing embittered Blairites response to his comments for making life harder for Khan in London. Double blimey.

Ken Livingstone admits to @Skynews the anti-semitism row hurting Khan in Barnet & Camden — an area of London with large Jewish populations

12.22pm BST

David Cameron said the results showed Labour had “completely lost touch” with the public.

“After six years in power we are actually strengthening our position in local government,” he told supporters in Peterborough.

12.06pm BST

Arise Sir Lynton …

12.00pm BST

Jeremy Corbyn insists he will continue as Labour leader.

He told the Press Association: “I’m carrying on. Don’t worry about that. I’m carrying on. I’m fine. I’m very happy.”

Corbyn says today’s results have seen “a significant swing to Labour” and are something to be pleased about. pic.twitter.com/0NfOFhl29v

11.54am BST

The final results in Wales confirm that Labour is just short of a majority with 29 seats, down one. Ukip secured seven seats including ones for the Tory defectors Neil Hamilton and Mark Reckless. Plaid Cymru pipped the Tories to second place by one seat.

The final result in the #Wales2016 Assembly Election https://t.co/dyqb1TuuPl pic.twitter.com/m0CTDimt8Q

11.50am BST

Helen Pidd has grim news from Pendle.

The BNP just beat Labour into second place in Pendle’s Marsden ward. It was a Tory hold (473 votes to BNP’s 437; Lab 292).

11.45am BST

David Cameron is about to speak in Peterborough where the Tories hung on (the phrase of the morning) to control of the council.

11.39am BST

British voters have once again refused to comply with conventional political wisdom, writes Tom Clark.

Few foresaw the all-conquering SNP failing quite to conquer Holyrood, with Nicola Sturgeon coming back just shy of an overall majority. Few predicted Jeremy Corbyn would come close to holding his own in the English council elections, after his catastrophic run-up to polling day. And fewer still would have guessed the reason why Labour, whom the experts had marked down to lose 150-200 seats, would instead stem its losses at somewhere in the low tens.

For the one safe psephological assumption about Corbyn’s socialist programme had seemed to be that it would go down better in the disgruntled heartlands, rather than in the decisive market town marginals. Instead, however, Labour has surrendered the traditionally rock-solid Rhondda to Plaid in Wales, and leaked votes in the north to Ukip, although – crucially – not normally enough to lose councillors. But at the same time, it actually held up far better in the south, in particular, than it was expecting. The old 1980s southern discomfort narrative was dusted down before these elections, but it has been defied as Labour held its own, or even advanced, in Crawley, Plymouth and Southampton.

11.33am BST

The Welsh Labour leader, Carwyn Jones, has revealed he is prepared to work with the Lib Dems and/or Plaid Cymru, writes Steven Morris, after Labour fell short of a majority. He is talking to the other parties to check the lie of the land and may end up working with them informally but not in a coalition.

Speaking to the Guardian, Jones said: “Early days yet. Twenty nine (seats – out of a possible 60) is a lot more than the polls were predicting. We have to wait and see what the view of other parties may be. I have made it clear we can’t work with the Tories or Ukip.”

11.28am BST

Labour has failed to make advances in key semi-marginal seats in the Midlands, where Ukip also caused the party to lose control of Dudley council, writes Ben Quinn.

In an area of the country that was the scene of local election triumphs for Ed Miliband’s Labour during his 2012 high watermark as leader, defenders of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership are likely to point to the successful defence of councils such as Cannock Chase.

11.21am BST

Corbyn hails the fact that Labour “hung on” to control of councils it was predicted to lose.

Speaking in Sheffield he said: “All across England we were getting predictions that Labour was going to lose councils. We didn’t, we hung on, and we grew support in a lot of places.”

11.08am BST

Labour supporters and the press in Sheffield are waiting to greet Corbyn at the English Institute of Sport.

Labour supporters waiting for Corbyn to arrive in Sheffield. Apparently he doesn’t have a pass to get into the count pic.twitter.com/AHVvxlrtcg

11.03am BST

Jeremy Corbyn is preparing to claim that Labour had a “good night” in England and held its own in Wales as he addresses activists on the steps of the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, writes Anushka Asthana.

11.00am BST

Lewis Baston, director of research at the Electoral Reform Society, picks out seven points from a “peculiar” set of results so far.

• The SNP has fallen well short of its aspirations, although it has continued the realignment of the working-class west of Scotland that made the changeover in the 2015 Westminster election so dramatic. For Scottish Labour, Rutherglen no more, Bellshill no more.

• The Scottish Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have performed remarkably well; the reasons need exploring but it seems that both are regarded as acceptable repositories for unionist votes – more so than Scottish Labour.

10.55am BST

The Shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, has offered lukewarm loyalty to Corbyn.

10.38am BST

Scottish Labour should consider merging with the SNP after its “horror north of the border” argues Simon Jenkins.

The merger of Scottish Labour and Scotland’s nationalists must be on the horizon one day, perhaps when the present generation of former Scottish Labour MPs acknowledges reality. Scotland’s politics must snap out of its tribalism and recover the conventional left-right dichotomy. The success of the impressive Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, can only hasten that day.

Related: The once monolithic character of UK politics continues to fracture | Simon Jenkins

10.27am BST

Senior figures in Scottish Labour have told Severin Carrell that the party must look again at home rule, after Labour was beaten into third place.

Some senior @scottishlabour and union figures believe Labour now must reopen home rule question, to rebuild popular support #Holyrood2016

Related: SNP win stops short of majority as Scottish Labour finishes third

10.22am BST

The results are “disastrous and embarrassing” for those in the Labour party hoping for a general election win in 2020, according to the Spectator’s Isabel Hardman. Speaking on the magazine’s Coffee House podcast she said the results could only be seen as “pretty good” by Jeremy Corbyn’s low measure that the party would not lose seats.

Hamish Macdonell said the SNP’s failure to secure a majority in Scotland was a “big blow” to Nicola Sturgeon. He pointed out that the result did not match the party’s, or the media’s, expectation of how it would fare.

10.07am BST

The pollster and commentator Peter Kellner calls it a bad election for Labour, pointing out that it is the first time in 30 years that an opposition has lost ground in local elections.

9.56am BST

The chancellor, George Osborne, is chipper about the local election results in England. “What an achievement to be winning seats after six years in power,” he tweeted.

Huge thanks to hardworking Conservative councillors and candidates: what an achievement to be winning seats after six years in power

9.53am BST

A Labour councillor in Bury, north Manchester, has blamed Ken Livingstone for two Labour colleagues losing their seats in a heavily Jewish populated ward, writes our North of England editor, Helen Pidd.

Alan Quinn told the Manchester Evening News his party had lost two “hard-working and proud” councillors in Prestwich because of a “backlash against the Labour party”.

9.50am BST

David Cameron has tweeted his congratulations to the Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, after the Conservatives beat Labour to second place in the Scottish parliament.

He said: “She is a leader who will stand up to the SNP and give Scotland strong opposition.”

Congratulations to @Ruth_E_Davidson on this historic result: she is a leader who will stand up to the SNP & give Scotland strong opposition.

9.46am BST

The Tory MP and outgoing London mayor, Boris Johnson, said Labour had suffered a “real drubbing” in Scotland. Speaking to LBC Radio he added: “There must be real questions now about Jeremy Corbyn’s ability to hold on to his position, I would have thought.

“As far as I can make out, the Conservatives are in second place in Scotland. It’s absolutely extraordinary.”

Labour have had a “real drubbing” in Scotland and questions need to be asked on Jeremy Corbyn’s future, says Boris https://t.co/NOYvmxjB90

9.41am BST

Here’s a reminder of how the Guardian covered Hamilton’s fall from grace over the cash for questions scandal back in 1996.

9.34am BST

Neil Hamilton has hailed his return to politics as a “surprising turn of events”.

9.25am BST

The disgraced former Tory minister Neil Hamilton has been elected as a Ukip member of the Welsh assembly. He won 25,042 votes in Mid and West Wales and becomes one of the four assembly members on the regional list in that area.

Former Tory MP Neil Hamilton back in mainstream politics – he’s won a seat for Ukip at the Welsh assembly.

9.18am BST

The SNP’s failure to secure an overall majority in Scotland is being seen as blow to the party’s hope of holding a second independence referendum, even if the UK votes to leave the EU.

.@theSNP’s loss of majority means little prospect of 2nd referendum if Leave wins in June. Remainers will have to ditch that argument.

Astonishing. SNP loses its majority in the Scottish Parliament. Surely now impossible to call second indy ref – no clear mandate.

So it is official, @theSNP loses its majority. I cannot see how there is a legal second referendum in next five years, even if Brexit.

9.07am BST

The SNP has failed to win an overall majority in Scotland and the Tories are confirmed as the second largest in the Scottish parliament.

The SNP won 63 of the 129 seats at the Scottish parliament. The Scottish Conservatives had their best ever result, securing 31 MSPs, while Labour suffered its worst result since devolution with 24 MSPs.

Scottish Parliament, the final result:
SNP: 63 MSPs (-6)
CON: 31 (+16)
LAB: 24 (-13)
GRN: 6 (+4)
LDEM: 5 (-)

9.05am BST

The results in Wales show that the opinions polls got it broadly right. The BBC is forecasting that Labour is set to win 29 seats, with Plaid Cymru on 12, the Tories on 10 and Ukip on 7.

So far after 39 declared constituencies, Labour has won 26.

BBC forecasting team Wales seats prediction:
Lab 29 (2 short of a majority)
PC 12
Con 11
UKIP 7
LD 1

8.40am BST

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has conceded that the results are “certainly a mixed picture for Labour” but he urged critics of Jeremy Corbyn to give the leader more time.

8.12am BST

Ukip are now up to four seats in Wales including the Tory defector Mark Reckless.

Four seats for @UKIPWales in the Welsh Assembly so far – congratulations to @NathanGillMEP @DeceangliWoman@MarkReckless & @DavidRowlandsUK

two more Ukip successes in Wales – this time in South East Wales – and one of them the former Tory MP Mark Reckless

8.10am BST

Please tell us what you make of the results on GuardianWitness.

Related: What do you make of the 2016 election results?

8.08am BST

The Scottish Tories now look fairly certain to beat Labour to second place in Scotland.

With 14 seats still to declare the SNP is on 60 seats, the Conservatives are on 25 and Labour is on just 20.

Scottish Parliament, composition:
SNP: 60 (-4)
CON: 25 (+12)
LAB: 20 (-12)
GRN: 6 (+4)
LDEM: 4 (+1)
(14 yet to declare)

By my reckoning last time Tories/Unionists (without allies) got more votes than Labour in Scotland in a non-EU election was 1935 #SP16

7.59am BST

Here’s confirmation that Ukip has won its first assembly seats in Wales.

North Wales list, number elected:
UKIP: 2
PC: 1
CON: 1

Ukip has won its first two seats at the Welsh assembly – one of them the party’s leader in Wales, Nathan Gill.

Congratulations to @UKIPWales on winning two Assembly seats in North Wales.

7.56am BST

Voters in a St Ives referendum have given 83% backing to a proposal to give planning permission to new housing projects only if they are reserved for full-time residents. The result will put a halt to new-build developments for outsiders.

Here’s the result courtesy of the town councillor Andrew Marshall:

7.49am BST

Steven Morris brings some oratory from the valleys courtesy of the triumphant Plaid leader, Leanne Wood, who he says has pulled off the result of the night in Wales by beating the Labour stalwart Leighton Andrews. Wood said:

7.44am BST

The Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, is claiming a “breakthrough” in Wales as the party looks set to gain at least five assembly members, including possibly the disgraced former Tory minister Neil Hamilton.

It’s looking like a breakthrough for UKIP in Wales as well as right across the country.https://t.co/ZcH8IlnLEO

7.37am BST

Emma Reynolds, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, who stood down as a shadow minister when Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader, said Labour’s results were “not good enough” to suggest the party would be returning to government.

7.09am BST

Steven Morris picks out another really good result in the Welsh capital for Labour – Julie Morgan (wife of the former first minister and Welsh Labour leader Rhodri) has clung on to Cardiff North. Decent majority too – 3,667.

Richard Wyn Jones, professor of Welsh politics at Cardiff University, calls this a “stunning result”. The Tories had hoped to win this one – their candidate, Jayne Cowan, is a popular local councillor and her party took this seat at the Westminster election last year.

Cardiff North:
LAB: 44.8% (-2.8)
CON: 35.0% (-7.4)
UKIP: 6.7% (+6.7)
PC: 6.1% (+0.7)
LDEM: 3.0% (-1.6)

7.08am BST

Nicola Sturgeon has hailed the SNP’s third-term win in Scotland as historic.

7.03am BST

Kezia Dugdale has insisted she won’t be standing down as Scottish Labour leader, despite conceding that Labour looks set to be beaten into third place in Scotland.

6.50am BST

After retaining his Bridgend seat, the Welsh Labour leader, Carwyn Jones, said London politicians had not helped his party, writes Steven Morris.

6.42am BST

The Scottish Labour leader, Kezia Dugdale, who failed to secure the Edinburgh Eastern seat where she was standing, has been elected via the regional list.

.@kezdugdale offers congrats to @NicolaSturgeon and @theSNP on #SP16 victory pic.twitter.com/c6KUFzca6g

6.33am BST

5.45am BST

Sky News has broadcast its projection for the results in Scotland. It expects the SNP to get 69 seats (the same number as they got in 2011), the Conservatives 25 (up 10), Labour 20 (down 17) and the Lib Dems six (up one).

5.43am BST

John Curtice also revealed on the BBC that it looks as though Labour may be “very slightly ahead” of the Conservatives on national share of the vote in the English council elections. He said the Tory vote seemed to be down about four points, and the Labour vote seemed to be up four points.

In a blog early this week Curtice said that when calculating a “proportional national share” figure for the local elections this year he would be benchmarking them against new figures he had produced for the PNS for the 2015 local elections. In 2015 the Tories were on 35% and Labour 29% on this measure, suggesting this year’s figures could put the Conservatives on 31%, and Labour on 33% – although the figures will doubtless change as new results come in.

5.24am BST

John Curtice says it is looking as if the Tories may come second in Scotland. But it is not certain, he says.

And he says he expects the SNP to gain fewer seats than the 69 they got in 2011.

5.22am BST

On the basis of the 25 constituency results in from Wales, turnout is 43.4%, up 3.8 percentage points on 2011.

5.21am BST

According to the BBC, Labour’s share of the vote in Scotland seems to have fallen by 10%. And the Conservatives’ share of the vote has risen by 8%.

5.14am BST

Plaid Cymru’s leader, Leanne Wood, has beaten Labour in the Rhondda, overturning a majority of almost 7,000.

In Rhondda @LeanneWood overturns Labour’s 6,739 majority to win with a majority for Plaid Cymru of over 3,000 votes pic.twitter.com/UNrsfNXCsK

5.10am BST

We’ve had a police and crime commissioner result in. Angus Macpherson, a Conservative, has been elected on the second count in Wiltshire.

5.05am BST

And here are the full results of the Liverpool mayoral election.

Joe Anderson (Lab) 51,332 (52.61%, -6.73%)

5.04am BST

Labour’s Joe Anderson has been re-elected as mayor of Liverpool.

.@joeforliverpool wins second term as elected mayor but may only be in post for a year if he stands for mayor of #merseyside #LocalElections

4.59am BST

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, has just won her seat in Glasgow Southside, with 61.4% of the vote.

She thanks the people of Scotland for placing their trust in her.

We in the SNP will always stand up for Scotland. And tonight Scotland has stood up for us.

4.55am BST

Peter Hain, the Labour former cabinet minister, has told the BBC that his party should be winning seats, not losing them, and that Jeremy Corbyn has not shown “anything like an ability to … win the centre ground”.

Frankly, for us to be on course and confident of winning the next general election, we should be gaining seats at this stage in the cycle, not losing them.

The leadership has to show that it can win the centre ground, as well as doing what Jeremy has done very effectively in bringing the left back into the party.

What he hasn’t shown anything like an ability to do is win the centre ground votes that we need to win a general election.

4.48am BST

These tweets are from the academic Rob Ford. They suggest the Conservatives and Lib Dems have done particularly well in Scotland in constituencies where they are the main opposition to the SNP.

Scottish Cons up 8 points overall, but by 13.5 points in seats where they started as the local opposition to the SNP

Scottish Lib Dems up 2 points overall, but 11 points in the 4 seats where they started as the local opposition to the SNP

4.33am BST

In Scotland David Mundell, the Conservative Scottish secretary, has said he expects the Tories to come second.

I think it will be a seismic change in Scottish politics that the Scottish Conservatives are the second party in the Scottish parliament.

I was a candidate back in those first elections in 1999. It would have been incredible to think the Scottish Conservatives could have finished ahead of Labour and be the official opposition.

4.28am BST

And here is the latest state of play from Wales, from the Press Association.

After 10 first-past-the-post results out of 40 in the Welsh assembly election the state of the parties is:

Labour: nine seats.

4.26am BST

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, has just been elected in the Edinburgh Central constituency.

This is from the BBC’s Nick Eardley.

Kezia Dugdale likely to be the only leader among big four parties that fails to win constituency

4.23am BST

Here is the latest state of play from Scotland, from the Press Association.

After 40 results out of 73 in the Scottish parliament election the state of parties is:

SNP: 33 seats, including four gains and two losses.

4.21am BST

The Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has failed in her bid to win the Edinburgh Eastern constituency from the SNP.

4.20am BST

My colleague John Harris has sent me this from the Plymouth count.

All Labour holds so far. The Tories looking downcast, Labour upbeat. It’s more about consolidation than advance, but the Conservatives said Corbyn’s stance on Trident and anthemgate would harm Labour here, and it doesn’t seem to have happened. There’s no Ukip surge so far either. Lesson: as with Oldham East, these excited media predictions of Labour meltdown aren’t materialising in England.

4.11am BST

The BBC have just broadcast the latest figures they have for what they think is happening to the share of the vote in Wales. Here they are.

Labour: -8

4.02am BST

John Curtice has just told the BBC that the first results have come in from the Scottish regional lists. He said it was still not clear whether or not the Conservatives would come second in Scotland, but he said that if he were a Tory spokesman, he would not be too confident about predicting reaching second place. It was “by no means a done deal”, he said.

He also said that he expected the SNP to have an overall majority, but that it could be smaller than it was in 2011.

3.55am BST

Jack McConnell, the Labour former first minister of Scotland, is on the BBC’s election programme. Asked to explain what is happening in Scotland, he tries to explain it with an anecdote. There is a man in his local garage who for years has had a go at him about Labour, he says. But he says recently he has started making critical comments about the SNP. McConnell says he thinks that, after nine years, the SNP are now being held to account for their record.

3.52am BST

This is what the Labour MP John Mann, who was been an outspoken critic of Jeremy Corbyn, told the BBC earlier about not wanting to see a leadership challenge.

Let me say that this speculation about a challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, it was my view a month ago and a day ago that shouldn’t be one. It’s my view today that there shouldn’t be one. What we need is him to get on top of the big issues and start broadening our appeal.

We should have been winning by a landslide across the country with the way this Tory government’s been acting and the way they’ve dealt with the country, the collapse in economic confidence. We’re doing okay, not bad results, we’re holding our own, but we should be doing dramatically better than this.

3.44am BST

According to the Press Association, the latest forecast is that suggests the SNP will end up with 61 constituency seats in Scotland, the Tories six, Labour three and Lib Dems three.

After 30 first-past-the-post results out of 73 in the Scottish Parliament election the state of parties is:

SNP 24 seats, including three gains and one loss.

3.40am BST

Edge-of-the-seat news from Witney East where Duncan Enright – sitting Labour councillor and unsuccessful challenger to David Cameron in last year’s general election – first lost then regained his council seat after, as he tweeted, a “bundle of my votes” were found “under a Tory pile”:

Lost by 70 votes or so. Thanks for the opportunity to serve. The fight goes on

Miscount in #Witney East, result now in, I win by 70! THANK YOU!

Actually I won! Bundle of my votes under a Tory pile! Delighted! Thanks Witney! https://t.co/zyxsXceOhL

Three Labour councillors out of three re-elected in #Witney and #Chippy Wahay! pic.twitter.com/7gn9s5kfad

3.38am BST

Labour have increased their majority in the bellwether council of Crawley in West Sussex, a rare southern English council which is highly symbolic.

Mike Pickett snatched Southgate ward from his Conservative rival shortly before 3am, with Labour also holding the marginal seats of Tilgate and Ifield. The most marginal council in the country, Labour now have a two seat majority over the Tories. No other parties won seats.

Chants of 9-4! 9-4! (The number of councillors won in Crawley tonight) pic.twitter.com/ivAjO6vDZO

3.30am BST

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has arrived at the Glasgow count to huge cheers.

She promised to govern the country ‘in the interests of everybody’, saying that her priority would be education.
Asked about whether she would use her victory to push for independence, she said:

The decision on that will always lie where it rightly belongs, in the hands of the Scottish people.

I will govern for every single person in this country and seek to win the trust of those who didn’t vote SNP yesterday,” adding that, on the results so far, that didn’t appear to be many people.

3.28am BST

Willie Rennie, the Lib Dem leader in Scotland, has gained North East Fife from the SNP.

3.25am BST

The Labour MP John Mann is on the BBC now. He rejects the suggestion that his on-air row with Ken Livingstone last week damaged the party’s chances. He says no one has brought this up with him on the doorstep.

But he says tonight’s results show Labour has a problem with Jewish voters. Jeremy Corbyn has to address this, he says.

3.23am BST

On Radio 4, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has admitted that the antisemitism row has “had its effect” on Labour’s results in Scotland. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing, he added:

In some ways I’m pleased it’s happens because it’s exposed an issue in our party we’ve got to address, and we’re addressing it.

In some ways it’ll strengthen us. It’s a tough time at the moment, we’re learning lessons and we’ve got to come through it that much stronger.

3.20am BST

Here’s the Guardian story about the Ogmore byelection.

Related: Ogmore byelection won by Labour’s Chris Elmore

3.17am BST

Labour have held Southampton, the party says.

3.15am BST

Chris Grayling, the Conservative leader of the Commons, has just told Radio 5 Live that it is looking as if the Conservatives will end up with more constituency seats in Scotland than Labour. That would be remarkable, he said.

3.15am BST

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is having a good night:

Fascinating: the Conservatives have raised their share of the vote in every Scot Parl seat declared thus far, save for Orkney

Scottish Daily Mail: #sp16 election special pic.twitter.com/xeN3kiJfeF

3.14am BST

On the BBC election programme John Curtice has just said that it is beginning to look as if tomorrow morning will look “not as bad for Jeremy Corbyn as it could have done”. This is because Labour is managing to hold on to councils like Crawley, he said. And partly that is because the Conservative vote seems to be falling away in the southern half of England, he said.

3.09am BST

We’ve had the second byelection result. Labour’s Chris Elmore had hold Ogmore in Wales, where the former MP Huw Irranca-Davies resigned so he could stand for the Welsh assembly.

Here are the Ogmore results in full.

3.03am BST

Neil Hamilton, the former Tory minister who resigned over cash-for-questions and who is now a Ukip candidate in Wales, has just told BBC Radio 5 Live that he expects Ukip to win eight seats in the Welsh assembly. It will be the first time they have been represented there.

2.59am BST

Labour has held Crawley, with an increased majority. It is a Labour council, but Labour had a majority of just one and it was a council where the Tories seemed to have a chance of making gains.

2.58am BST

Now here’s something we haven’t seen in a while: the Liberal Democrats are trending on Twitter:

Rumours of their death etc #LibDems pic.twitter.com/MesEgOwPg3

2.56am BST

In Wales Labour Labour expects to hold Caerphilly but with a significantly reduced majority, according to Labour sources.

2.53am BST

The SNP looks set to take Dumbarton from Labour, according to SNP sources.

2.53am BST

In Wales Carwyn Jones, the Labour first minister, has acknowledged that his party may need to do a deal with Plaid Cymru or the Lib Dems to form an administration.

We are confident we will be by far the largest party so it will be up to us to look to form a government.

We have worked with Plaid and the Lib Dems before, so that’s something we know has happened in the past, but let’s wait and see what the final figures show.

Whenever a politician in London says something unhelpful we don’t welcome that, of course we don’t. I certainly didn’t welcome Ken Livingstone’s comments.

2.51am BST

As Severin Carrell pointed out, the shift in Glasgow’s Eastwood constituency – which has fallen to the Tories having been a Labour stronghold in all previous Holyrood elections – could be a casualty of the antisemitism row that has bedevilled Labour.

Former Labour MP for West Dunbartonshire Gemma Doyle seems to think so:

Tories win Eastwood,very tight three way. Did Labour’s anti-semitism row make the difference.

Almost certainly https://t.co/oaxPknLC6M

2.48am BST

The Lib Dems say they have gained two seats in Hull, and held every seat in Southport.

2.46am BST

This is from Jamie Ross, BuzzFeed’s Scotland correspondent.

Unless something extraordinary happens in the next few hours, I understand Labour now expect to come third tonight.

2.43am BST

There were jubilant scenes as co-conveyor of the Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie and candidate Zara Kitson, both believed to have a very strong chance of winning two Glasgow list seats, arrived at the Emirates. It is also believed that Harvie had come second in the Glasgow Kelvin constituency, where he was standing for the first time, beating Labour into third place.
The Greens, who enjoyed a five-fold increase in membership after the independence referendum, during which they campaigned for a yes vote alongside the SNP, hoped to consolidate this rise in profile and the early signs are good.

Harvie said that the influx of new activists had allowed the party to reach voters in a way that was previously impossible.

2.41am BST

There is a significant Jewish community in Eastwood, and my colleague Severin Carrell says it is possible that the Ken Livingstone/antisemitism row may have contributed to Labour’s defeat there.

Is Ken Macintosh defeat the most tangible damage from Ken Livingstone antisemitism row? Quite likely #Holyrood2016 https://t.co/7UPUiiNHFL

2.36am BST

In Scotland the Conservatives have just won Eastwood, the Holyrood seat that overlaps with the Westminster seat that used to be represented by Jim Murphy, the Labour leader in Scotland, until 2015. There was a swing from Labour to the Conservatives of 5.7%.

2.30am BST

Labour has easily held on to Rochdale, despite Lib Dem boasts of a comeback and talk that Simon Danczuk’s name was mud on the doorstep. “Some comeback that was,” said Danczuk, who is now sitting as the town’s Independent MP after being suspended by the Labour party. Labour lost one seat to the Lib Dems and gained one from the Tories, retaining 48 of the council’s 60 seats. It looks as though the drama in Greater Manchester tonight is in Stockport, where the Liberal Democrat leader, Sue Derbyshire, has been ousted by a Labour candidate. That means all ten leaders of the Greater Manchester councils are almost certainly going to be men from tomorrow.

2.25am BST

This is from Philip Cowley, an academic.

45 councils declared thus far in England. Not a single one changed control yet. The action is all at the councillor level.

2.23am BST

We’ve had the first byelection result of the night. Labour’s Gill Furniss has been elected in Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, where her late husband Harry Harpham was MP. Ukip came second.

Labour’s share of the vote went up 5.8%. Ukip came second, but their share of the vote was down 2.2%. And the Conservatives, who came fourth behind the Lib Dems, saw their share of the vote fall by 5.4%.

Related: Antisemitism row makes no mark in Sheffield as voters focus on cuts

2.18am BST

This is from the Mark Reckless, the former Ukip MP who is standing as a candidate for the party in Wales.

I think we have got a quarter of the vote in Newport East

2.14am BST

In the tradition of H’Angus the Monkey – aka former Hartlepool mayor Stuart Drummond – the voters of Cannock Chase have rewarded the man behind a local team’s mascot.

Paul Woodhead, beloved of fans of Hednesford as ‘Pitman Pete’, has made a breakthrough for the Green party in elections for Cannock Chase district council, beating a former Ukip general election candidate in the process.

Paul Woodhead (Hednesford Town’s “Pitman Pete”) wins a Cannock seat for the Greens (beating UKIP’s 2015 Westmin cand pic.twitter.com/iTUAbZ9iUQ

New ground / new model for Green Party local election campaigns? Paul Woodhead on his successful Cannock campaignhttps://t.co/XKfV2eVLRu

2.11am BST

This is from the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.

Labour has lost a ward in Bury with a high Jewish population, swing away from the party more than 20 percent it sounds like

2.03am BST

This is from the BBC’s Tim Hammond.

John Curtice on Hamilton – 9% swing from LAB to CON which if replicated elsewhere would put parties neck and neck in Scotland #SP16

2.00am BST

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has been at the byelection count for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough. Asked by the Guardian whether he thought it would be fair to use tonight’s results to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of Corbyn’s leadership, he said that you couldn’t draw “deep conclusions” about a person’s leadership from election results.

I mean, yes, it’s a snap shot of public opinion and, yes, you have to hear what people are telling you on the doorstep, but I don’t think that eight months in you can reasonably think that these set of results are solely down to Jeremy Corbyn.

I think people see that for what it is.

What I’m trying to do as deputy leader is bring people with very different views of the world, who represent many different traditions within the Labour party – be it the social democratic tradition or the classically socialist tradition – bring them together in a culture of mutual respect where their ideas can be shared, where people’s differing views are respected and that difference understood. And I just say to people, if you display intolerance and disrespect for each other, then that just has the worst effect.

1.54am BST

We’re at the Life Centre in Plymouth for the city council count. In this rare Labour redoubt in the south-west, it’s unbelievably close: Labour run the council with 28 seats to the Tories’ 26 (with Ukip on 3), so if a single seat changes hands, they’re in trouble.

The council leader is Tudor Evans, who was recently voted council leader of the year (as well as being awarded the OBE). He’s a highly-rated and very creative politician in charge of a “co-operative council” who have parried austerity by growing social enterprises and overseeing ambitious regeneration – and he’s much admired by national Labour figures. But though he won’t be drawn on whether Labour’s recent national travails recently are going to be a problem, he’s very open about how nervous he is tonight.

1.54am BST

Plenty of whispers and possible-verging-on-confident predictions for Scottish seats on Twitter right now; of course, for many parties expectations were not particularly high. The Lib Dems are already celebrating the first Holyrood win of the night, in Orkney – could they see more?

Liberal Democrats confident of winning Shetland.

Liberal Democrats are saying they have… GAINED North East Fife constituency from the SNP.

Lib Dems think Willie Rennie may have the beating of the SNP in North East Fife. Would be extraordinary if true.

Looks like it’s going to be a night of recovery for the LibDems. #sp16

Labour source says they are 95 per cent confident they will win Edinburgh Southern #jpvote

1/2 We’re hearing things are looking good for Greens list-wise in Glasgow…

1.51am BST

David Mundell, the Conservative Scottish secretary, has just told the BBC that he is “very confident” of his party coming second in the Scottish elections.

1.51am BST

My colleague Steven Morris has more on the contests in Cardiff.

It’s too close to the call in Cardiff North and Cardiff Central. Both were held by Labour going into this election, North by Julie Morgan, wife of former first minister Rhodri Morgan, and South by Jenny Rathbone. The Tories have their sights set on Cardiff North following a good victory in the constituency at last year’s general election.

Cardiff Central is the most marginal seat in Wales won by a majority of just 38 last time. The Lib Dems hope this could be one ray of sunshine in what is likely to be a miserable night in Wales for them.

1.45am BST

In Cardiff Julie Morgan, the former MP and wife of Rhodri, the former Welsh first minister, says she is not confident of holding her Cardiff North assembly seat. She said:

I’m not confident. I’m prepared for whatever the result will be. The Cardiff North constituency has changed hands a few times between Labour and the Conservatives in both assembly and parliamentary elections.

1.43am BST

The Lib Dems say they have held Shetland in Scotland.

1.42am BST

With Labour now facing the loss of its 15 Holyrood constituency seats, Thomas Docherty, the Blairite former MP for Dunfermline and West Fife and is expected to win a Holyrood seat on the Mid Scotland and Fife regional list, attacked Dugdale’s campaign, accusing her of taking the party too far to the left.

He told BBC Scotland there was “a direct correlation” between Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and Scottish Labour’s performance, which he predicted could leave the party at under 20%.

1.40am BST

Sports halls the length and breadth of the UK are echoing to the sound of ballot papers being flicked and index fingers being licked (or perhaps they have those miniature sponges):

1.37am BST

Newsnight’s Nicholas Watt (name sounds familiar) reveals on the BBC’s election blog that he has seen a copy of Labour’s speaking note for party spokespeople tonight.

Leaked: How Labour will explain election results https://t.co/NSs4o8vErY via @BBCNews

It’s never been a realistic target to talk about hundreds of gains given that the last time these elections were fought, in 2012, Labour’s performance was a high water mark. The results then were Labour’s best in the local elections since those that took place in 2001 on the same day as Blair’s second landslide election. At the end of the day, we should be looking for Labour to advance on the 2015 election results, where we finished almost seven per cent behind the Conservatives.

1.31am BST

I’m told that Ukip has taken at least two seats from Labour in Hartlepool – one of them by just two votes. The results are yet to be announced but the two Ukip wins would double overnight their presence on the Labour-dominated council. Labour will say that only two swings to Ukip is not a great return, given the party’s very public pledge to throw everything at the north-east coastal town and take it completely from Labour by 2020. However, I’m told that Ukip has run Labour very close – within 20 votes – in one of its top target seats. “It’s not a win, but it’s a moral victory,” said a Ukip source.

1.28am BST

The Local Government Information Unit is providing very detail results coverage on its blog. Jonathan Carr-West, the LGiU chief executive, has put out this statement about the picture so far:

The main focus so far tonight continues to be the Labour vote and what it tells us about Corbyn’s leadership. Many Labour councils who have very different political outlooks from the national leadership may feel aggrieved by this relentless focus on the national: especially if, as is likely, it is costing them votes. This will exacerbate the rift that already exists between a radical leadership and a pragmatic local government base.

So far, Labour are holding safe councils (Newcastle, Liverpool, Sunderland and Halton) – but we expect to see them losing significant numbers of seats as the night progresses. To put this in context, the last time these councils were contested Labour gained 823 seats.

1.23am BST

John Curtice is doing the number crunching for the BBC. He told the election programme a few minutes ago that, on the basis of the voting pattern that has emerged so far in Scotland, Labour will lose all its constituency seats. Labour MSPs will only get elected to the Scottish parliament through the regional list system.

1.17am BST

The Liberal Democrats were the first party to win a Holyrood seat, when sitting MSP Liam McArthur held one of its only two constituencies in Orkney with a substantial 4,500 vote majority over the SNP.

1.16am BST

John Ferrett, the Labour leader on Portsmouth council, has said that Jeremy Corbyn has been a “disaster” for the party, according to the BBC’s Peter Henley.

Portsmouth Labour Leader John Ferret “Jeremy Corbyn is a disaster for us, he is incompetent, incapable of giving the leadership we need”

Surely in the history of the Labour Party it has never looked so weak and broken as it does right now #PMQs

What is clear here in Portsmouth is that the #UKIP threat to Labour has not gone away #corbyneffect

Labour vote is collapsing to UKIP in Portsmouth #corbyneffect

1.09am BST

Hearing that UKIP has taken a Labour seat by just *two* votes in Hartlepool (cc @AndrewSparrow)

1.07am BST

On Sky News Michael Thrasher, the election specialist who is in charge of their number crunching tonight, said it looked as if Labour could become the first opposition to lose council seats in an election like this for 30 years. He said:

Their vote share is not doing at all well. If you look in the detail, their vote has fallen quite markedly in some strong Labour areas. And although they have taken seats from the Liberal Democrats in Newcastle the performance of Ukip in Labour wards was pretty impressive. So this is not really the performance of an opposition party which has recovered from its defeat in 2015. It doesn’t show very much sense in which it is able to recover that ground. And we may well be looking at the end of the day at a party that has lost ground in terms of local council seats, which would be the first time that has happened to an opposition party in 30 years.

12.56am BST

The Ukip leader Nigel Farage says his party is eating into the Labour vote tonight.

Strong performances for UKIP in the North East, hearing we could breakthrough in Hartlepool.

It’s clear tonight that we in UKIP are eating into the Old Labour vote in a big way.https://t.co/pM6fPdd9A6

12.49am BST

The Lib Dems have held the Orkney Island constituency in Scotland, with a 16% swing from the SNP to the Lib Dems, the BBC reports.

12.48am BST

Simon Danczuk is in a bullish mood at the Rochdale count. Though no longer officially representing the Labour party, he is in team colours, wearing a red tie and accompanied by a new aide in a slinky red dress (not his ex wife Karen, who he re-employed, to some controversy, a few weeks back).

The currently Independent MP has been the subject of many a Liberal Democrat leaflet in the Greater Manchester town in recent weeks, with Lib Dems talking up their chances of winning back seats in the local election. They ran the town hall until 2010 but now have just one councillor. That’s Andy Kelly, who says he will be lonely no more after one of his comrades looks to have won the Milnrow and Newhey ward from Labour.

12.45am BST

On Twitter the Labour MP Mike Gapes says that for Labour to be losing seats tonight in the council elections would be “very bad”.

Labour losing seats in first year of opposition after Tory fiasco of recent weeks is very bad where is Straight talking, honest politics ?

12.41am BST

On the BBC’s election programme Huw Edwards asked John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, how he would respond to the claim that Labour should be gaining council seats in these elections, not losing them. McDonnell claimed it was not as simple as that. He said:

I think it’s more complex. Scotland is really complex. We’re at the early stages of Labour rebuilding. We got wiped out in the general election. We’ve only got one parliamentary seat left. So Scotland is extremely complex. I think the SNP is still in the honeymoon post-referendum where they took a clear position and the other parties were divided.

Wales, 17 years, it is inevitable we will fall back a bit, as long as we retain control.

12.21am BST

It was headline news last year when Shane Moore, then deputy leader of the local Conservative group in Hartlepool, defected to Ukip. Tonight he’s trying to unseat a Labour councillor in an all-Labour ward, in what would be a huge win for the Eurosceptic party and usher one of its key local lieutenants on to Hartlepool council.

Moore said he quit the Tories because “the leadership locally weren’t Conservatives as far as I was concerned and they weren’t acting in the best interests of the Conservatives”. He also said he’s fighting to change a mindset in the north-east of “I’m voting Labour because my dad did”. Listen to the full interview here.

Audio: Ukip’s Shane Moore in Hartlepool https://t.co/PaadLQmuGW via @audioBoom

12.17am BST

I’ve just had my first election night brush-off from a Ukip candidate.

If the predictions are correct, Gareth Bennett will be among the first intake of Ukip members in the Welsh assembly. He attracted headlines during the campaign for criticising the multiracial character of Cardiff and blamed “unhygienic” eastern Europeans for rubbish problems in the capital.

12.14am BST

Labour are saying the Tories have left the count in Delyn, a Labour/Tory marginal which Labour say the Tories had been hoping to win.

12.13am BST

You can read the results as they come in here, on our results tracker.

12.09am BST

On Newsnight Andrew Boff, the Conservative leader on the Greater London assembly, also said that the Zac Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign had “done real damage” and had “blown up” bridges the Conservative party had built with London’s Muslim communities.

I mentioned that I thought this was a mistake for future integration in London. If you are a London politician this is just a bizarre thing to do.

12.06am BST

The electoral fate of two Scottish party leaders, Kez Dugdale for Labour and Ruth Davidson for the Tories, will be decided in Edinburgh, where the first ballot papers for the city’s six constituency seats are now being counted at the Royal Highland Showground. Edinburgh is where several of the most interesting Scottish contests take place.

Dugdale is bidding to regain Edinburgh Eastern for Labour and Ruth Davidson to win Edinburgh Central; these contests have extra resonance as the polls suggest Davidson could make history by pushing Labour into third place for the first time in a Scottish election for 100 years.

12.01am BST

Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington, has been seeking to dampen down expectations a little, saying that the Labour party is proceeding from a “high watermark”.

Asked if Labour was in for a bad night, he told BBC West Midlands:

I hope not. We have very good candidates. We are proceeding from a high watermark. Four years ago we did very well in these elections.

Now, having said that. At this stage in a parliament we would hope to make further gains and to have what we hold.

11.59pm BST

One of the things that makes election night interesting is that fact that, once the polls close, politicians often feel free to say all the things they have been bottling up during the campaign. As I reported earlier, we have already seen evidence of a Labour inquest into Jeremy Corbyn’s performance getting underway in public. (See 11.48pm.) But the Tories are at it too. This is what Andrew Boff, leader of the Conservative group on the Greater London assembly, told Newsnight about the way Zac Goldsmith’s campaign has been conducted.

Well, I don’t think it was a dog whistle because you can’t hear a dog whistle. Everybody could hear this. It was effectively saying that people of conservative, religious views are not to be trusted and you should not share a platform with them. That’s outrageous.

Leader of Tory GLA #BackZac “I don’t think it’s dog whistle coz you can’t hear a dog whistle. Everyone cd hear this” https://t.co/daKmYDudlF

11.48pm BST

The first council results are starting to trickle in – the Local Government information Unit has very thorough ward-by-ward results coverage here – but already a Labour party inquest is getting underway. On Newsnight Neil Coyle, the Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said his party was moving “further away from government” and that it “shouldn’t be losing seats, it’s as simple as that”. He told the programme:

The problem we seem to be seeing is we are moving further away from government, and we are moving further away from government, I think, because we seem to be fixated on some issues that are peripheral and we seem to have a team which isn’t projecting either unity within the party or a vision and policies that the voters want.

There is a core team that seem unable to get out of a mindset that ‘They are out to get us’. This isn’t about a coup. I’m here because I want a Labour prime minister and a Labour government and these results look like they are setting us back from that.

There need to be more people in that team who don’t share exactly one vision on unilateralism or whatever. We need more people there who are able to say what the platform needs to be on housing, for example, and who are able to say we can’t just have an anti-Tory agenda which says we are not for the rich, we are only for a certain group in society.

Labour MP @coyleneil tells #Newsnight Lab top team needs more diversity so they don’t all share one vision. https://t.co/apssi8Lzii

11.36pm BST

Crawley council is a red speck in a sea of blue in the south-east, and Labour are fighting to keep control of the council tonight, where they have a majority of just one seat.

The balance has swung between the two main parties over the past 10 years, with the Tories taking the council for the first time in more than three decades in 2006, and strengthening their lead until the Tory win at national level.

#Crawley count is at the K2 leisure centre, though won’t get underway for a couple of hours. Result expected at 3ish pic.twitter.com/EhwlhMAjKC

11.34pm BST

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, told Sky News a few minutes ago that Jeremy Corbyn should be given more time to allow the party to recover:

I think this game of trying to predict whether it is a success or a failure on whether you win 100 seats or lose 100 seats is slightly unnecessary tonight. Jeremy has only been the leader of the Labour party for eight months. He has taken his party back from a very low base, one of our worst every election defeats a year ago this month. He was 14 points behind the Tories when he took over as leader. So we’ve got a long way to go. And I think most people would recognise you can’t consolidate your position in only eight months.

11.26pm BST

This is from the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.

interesting nugget, in one key ward in Sunderland, UKIP vote was 29%

11.22pm BST

A Lib Dem councillor on Stockport council has defected to Labour, Labour HQ is saying.

11.22pm BST

If the ITV poll proves accurate it won’t be a terrible night for Labour in Wales – but would be an excellent one for Ukip.

Labour, which has governed since the first assembly in 1999, went into the election holding 30 of the assembly’s 60 seats. If it does end up with 27 this time it may well form a minority government, probably making deals with Plaid Cymru, which is projected to win 12 seats, to get its budget and programme through.

11.19pm BST

A Labour source in Wales points out that the party has been running a minority administration in the assembly and says that, if the ITV poll turns out to be accurate, that would constitute “a decent result for us and certainly one that any or all of the other parties would give their hind teeth for”.

11.11pm BST

Could low turnout spell bad news for Labour in the ‘bellwether’ district council elections of Cannock Chase?

The ballot boxes have arrived and verification is underway here at the count centre, where 13 of the District Council’s 41 seats are up for grabs.

11.09pm BST

Labour is not expecting to win any constituency seats in Glasgow, it has emerged. This is from the BBC’s Nick Eardley.

Reports Labour do not expect to hold on to any constituencies in Glasgow tonight

11.00pm BST

As my colleague Heather Stewart writes in her election results preview story, different factions in the Labour party have different views as to what would constitute a good result for the party. Here’s an extract:

Corbyn’s team insist that the vote share in the 2015 general election is the right baseline from which to judge whether they are making progress, arguing that the last time these council seats were contested, under Ed Miliband’s leadership in 2012, was a “high-water mark”. But the leader’s critics say he should be getting hundreds of gains.

Alison McGovern, chair of the Blairite Progress group of MPs, said: “We shouldn’t be losing any councils. Labour is providing real leadership in the face of grim Tory incompetence and austerity. We can’t afford to start losing that.”

10.53pm BST

In Hartlepool, the Labour-dominated council is said to be feeling the heat from a resurgent campaign by Ukip. The Eurosceptic party has had the north-east coastal town in its crosshairs for years, and in last year’s general election was just 3,000 votes away from unseating the incumbent Labour MP, Iain Wright.

Tonight Ukip is looking to add to its two councillors on the ward, currently dominated by 22 Labour seats. It has fielded candidates in each of tonight’s 11 wards up for contention – a first in Hartlepool, possibly in the north-east – but one seat in particular is said to be firmly in its sights: that of Christopher Akers-Belcher, the council leader (whose partner, Stephen, could also lose his seat tonight).

Audio: Hartlepool council leader in UKIP’s crosshairs https://t.co/ZPusJm6xsN via @audioBoom

10.47pm BST

The ITV Wales poll is out. Here are the figures.

10.38pm BST

And this is what John McDonnell on Sky News said about Labour’s challenge in today’s elections. He is saying that, as long as Labour narrow the gap that existed between them and the Tories at the general election (seven points), they will be making progress.

We were virtually seven points behind the Tories literally only 10 months ago in the general election. And if we can narrow that gap, which I think we will, we will demonstrate steady progress. We’ve got four years before the next general election. I think what we will do is move steadily towards a victory in 2020, and this could be narrowing that gap.

10.34pm BST

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, told Sky News a few minutes ago that he hoped Andy Burnham would stay on in the shadow cabinet and become home secretary in a Labour government rather than stand for mayor in Greater Manchester. But he said he could see why Burnham was tempted by the job.

10.31pm BST

And while we’re on the subject of managing expectations, here is an extract from the note the Lib Dems have just sent out to journalists setting out their take on today’s elections:

The task of turning things around after last year is gargantuan, but it’s under way and we are hoping to see some progress. We are realistic though, the loss last year was so catastrophic it will be incredibly difficult.

This is a test for Corbyn regardless of what they brief. Labour have been crowing about the thousands of people flocking to their new movement and this is their first test. If they go backwards, the voters will have seen them for the ineffectual opposition they are

10.29pm BST

Political parties spend a lot of time before elections like tonight’s trying to manage expectations. In this candid and amusing blog, Theo Bertram, who was a Labour adviser under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, explains how it’s done.

10.28pm BST

My colleague Severin Carrell is at the Royal Highland showground at Ingliston, where the Edinburgh constituencies and the Lothian regional seats are being counted. Here’s the scene.

For live #Holyrood2016 count updates tonight from #Glasgow and #Edinburgh, follow @libby_brooks and @severincarrell pic.twitter.com/p1UnNEik5T

10.25pm BST

Labour is nervous about how it will do in the local elections because the seats being contested today were last up for election in 2012, when the party under Ed Miliband was polling particularly well. The 2012 local elections took place shortly after George Osborne’s disastrous “omnishambles” budget and at the time Labour was ahead of the Tories in national opinion polls by almost 10 points.

Current polls give a mixed picture but generally they have been showing the Tories ahead, and on that basis there are predictions that Labour will lose seats tonight. I’m aware of two academic forecasts that are worth flagging up.

10.22pm BST

Many people have written “what to expect” preview guides ahead of tonight’s elections. One of the best ones is this one by John Curtice, the psephologist who was in charge of the team that produced the BBC’s highly successful general election exit poll, for the IPPR magazine Juncture. Here’s an extract:

There are then two crucial features to the political backdrop to this year’s elections. First, most of the contests were previously held when Labour was doing reasonably well in the polls – and indeed, with the exception of the London mayoral and Scottish parliament elections, this was broadly reflected in the party’s performance at the ballot box. This was especially true of the local elections in 2012. The BBC’s projection of these results into a Britain-wide election vote suggested that Labour’s performance was worth 38% of the vote, enough to put the party 7 points ahead of the Conservatives. It was easily the party’s best performance in any of the annual rounds of local elections held during the last parliament.

Consequently, Jeremy Corbyn faces a relatively demanding electoral test at a time when many are looking to see if he ‘fails’. Even if Labour were to enjoy some recovery from its position a year ago, the party would still suffer net losses. Indeed, simply repeating its performance locally in last year’s local elections would see the party lose control of Dudley, Cannock Chase, Crawley, Redditch, Rossendale and Southampton. This set of losses would undoubtedly be regarded by Corbyn’s critics as evidence that he had lost the plot in middle England – but in fact they may simply be an indication that the party was previously just treading water.

10.21pm BST

Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary and at one time the favourite to win the Labour leadership contest last summer, has announced that he is considering standing for mayor of Greater Manchester next year. The Press Association has filed this:

The shadow home secretary, Andy Burnham, is considering standing to be the mayor of Greater Manchester.

The former Labour leadership contender has yet to decide whether to seek the role when it comes up for election in 2017, his spokesman said.

10.09pm BST

Polls have closed. Unusually for “local” election night we’ve got an exit poll – in Wales.

POLLS ARE CLOSED. There is a Welsh on-the-day poll by YouGov for ITV and the University of Cardiff expected at around 10:30

Labour: 27 seats (25 constituency seats + 2 list seats)

Plaid Cymru: 12 seats (6 constituency seats + 6 list seats)

9.54pm BST

The #SuperThursday hashtag never did quite take off, but nevertheless polls are closing in a quite remarkable cluster of elections. We’ve had devolved parliament/assembly elections four times before, and London mayor elections four times before, but we’ve never had them taking place in the same year. Given that London is on a four-year cycle and the devolved bodies have moved to a five-year cycle, we may not get another overlap until 2036.

On top of that we’ve also got English council elections, police and crime commissioner election, and assorted other electoral contests. For reference, here is a full list of the elections taking place:

Related: What time will Thursday’s election results be announced?

In spite of the fact that Labour has always had a more nationalist stance in Wales than in Scotland, the party is in historic decline in Wales too. It may lose seats, though not on a Scottish scale. A Labour-led coalition or Labour minority government seems a likely outcome.

Yet this would not be a solid guide to politics in other parts of the UK either. Scottish politics, like those in Northern Ireland, now bear no relation to politics elsewhere. Welsh politics is neither a west British version of what is happening in England nor a minor key variation of the nationalist mood in Scotland. Even English politics is fractured, most obviously between London and elsewhere, but also in other ways. Post-industrial Britain is a disunited kingdom. And it increasingly has politics to match.

Related: UK elections 2016: last hours of voting – live updates

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The battle for Plymouth: politics in the age of chaos – video

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

The Tories thought the Corbyn effect would trigger a Conservative breakthrough. Labour had a proud local record and an acclaimed leader. But when two tribes went to war in one of Labour’s few Southern English strongholds, who came out on top? John Harris discovers that the chaotic state of English politics means that no one knows anything any more

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Take Back the City: London’s political startup calls for change – video

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

From impromptu debates on buses to poetry recitals in corner shops, the grassroots campaign Take Back the City is taking politics to the streets of London, disillusioned with mainstream parties. John Harris meets community organiser Amina Gichinga, a candidate in Thursday’s London assembly elections. He also attempts to speak to Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan about the housing crisis gripping the city

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