* A 41 per cent share of the vote, the best Conservative best performance since 1992. The experts agree that this is the kind of result that would lead to a general election victory.
* Already a net gain of 16 councils
* Projected to gain 600 seats, while Labour and the Lib Dems are losing seats and councils.
* Contrary to Labour spin, a real break through has been made in the North.
* Conservatives now control more councils in both the North West and Yorkshire than Labour do. The Tories gained South Ribble, East Riding of Yorkshire and Chester and now control 20 councils in the North.
Councils the Tories have gained:
o East Riding for the first time ever, making 13 gains and taking the Lib Dem and Labour leaders’ seats.
o South Ribble for the first time since 1995, gaining 24 seats.
o Chester for the first time since 1986, gaining 7 seats.
* Gains in 16 other councils in the north: Barrow-in-Furness, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Bury, Chorley, Crewe and Nantwich, Eden, Ellesmere Port and Neston, Macclesfield, Oldham, Pendle, Preston, Salford, Sunderland, West Lancashire and Wigan.
* A good night in Wales. Conservatives increased their share of the vote by more than any other party and are gaining First Past The Post seats that they didn’t win at the last General Election.
* A disappointing overall performance in Scotland, but some excellent results in areas where the Tories need to win seats at the next General Election (like Roxburgh and Berwickshire.
· Vote Share and Net Gains. The BBC are predicting a national vote share of 41 per cent compared to Labour’s 27 per cent and the Lib Dem’s 26 per cent. This is enough to win General Election. ‘The Conservatives usually fall short of the critical 40 per cent mark (the minimum vote share likely to be needed to win an overall majority in the House of Commons)’ (Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, Local Government Chronicle, 19 April 2007). Tonight they have exceeded that figure.
The Conservatives on course to gain 600 seats, while Labour are on course to lose 300 and the Lib Dems to lose 250. There is now the smallest number of Labour councillors since modern local government was created i.e. for well over 30 years.
Same lead for Conservatives as Labour’s in 1996. The 14 per cent lead is the same as it was last year and the same as Labour’s lead was in 1996 when Tony Blair said: ‘We are continuing to win support from new people in new areas… There are, quite simply, no no-go areas for new Labour’ (The Guardian, 4 May 1996).
CCHQ is saying this about the performance against the LibDems...
· Progress Against the Lib Dems. We’ve had some fantastic results again the Lib Dems:
o We took 23 seats from the Lib Dems to gain control of Bournemouth.
o We took 14 seats from the Lib Dems to gain control of Torbay.
o We took 18 seats from the Lib Dems to gain control of Windsor and Maidenhead, including the council leader’s seat.
o We took 13 seats from the Lib Dems to gain control of Malvern Hills.
o We took 23 seats from the Lib Dems to gain control of Waverley.
· Regional Breakdown.
In the Midlands:
o We have gained control of NW Leicestershire for the first time ever, gaining 15 seats.
o We have gained control of Lincoln - less than 10 years ago, we had no seats in Lincoln
o We have gained control of North Warwickshire for the first time ever.
o We have gained control of Oswestry for the first time ever.
o We have gained control of Herefordshire for the first time ever.
o We have gained control of Charnwood for the first time since 1991.
In the East of England:
o We have gained control of East Cambridgeshire for the first time ever
In the South East:
o We have gained control of Waverley from the Lib Dems, gaining 26 seats and doubling our representation.
o We have gained control of Gravesham from Labour for the first time since 1987.
o We have gained control of Woking for the first time since 1994.
o We have gained control of Dover – for the first time since 1991.
o We have gained control of Dartford for the first time since 1995.
In the South West:
o We have gained control of North Somerset, gaining 42 out of 58 seats - our best result ever
o We have gained control of Plymouth from Labour
· Labour wipeout. Labour have been wiped out in Castle Point, Maldon, Tunbridge Wells, Oswestry and Ribble Valley. So there are now 74 councils where there are no Labour councillors at all.
Conservative Gains. In the last Welsh Assembly election we won one First Past The Post seat. In the last General Election we won 3 First Past ThePost seats. Tonight we have gained 4 First Past The Post seats, two of which we did not hold at the last General Election.
· We have gained:
o Preseli Pembrokeshire from Labour with a 9.3 per cent swing to us from Labour with and a 3,205 majority.
o Cardiff North from Labour with an 8.5 per cent swing from the General Election.
o Carmarthen West & Pembrokeshire South from Labour on a 7.5 per cent swing to us.
o Clwyd West from Labour with a 4.1 per cent swing.
· In each of the following cases we narrowly missed winning the seats:
o Gower – 9.8 per cent swing to us
o Vale of Clwyd – 7.4 per cent swing to us
o Newport West – 5.8 per cent swing to us
o Delyn – 3.7 per cent swing to us