Lib Dems win big in local elections

8 May 2023

This has been an historic victory for the Liberal Democrats with our best result in decades.

It’s little wonder Rishi Sunak is running scared of a General Election, because he knows the Liberal Democrats are set to take swathes of seats across the Conservative  Party’s former heartlands.

The message from these elections is clear: people are fed up with being let down and taken for granted by this Conservative Government - it is time for a change. 


Gaining control of councils

Liberal Democrats gained majority control of twelve councils. This is the highest number of councils gained by the Lib Dems since 1995, which came ahead of the party’s sweeping gains against the Conservatives at the 1997 election.

Councils gained: Chichester, Dacorum, Guildford, Horsham, Mid Devon, South Hams, South Oxfordshire, Stratford on Avon, Surrey Heath, Teignbridge, West Berkshire & Windsor and Maidenhead

We also held control of all seventeen councils we were defending.

Councils held: Bath & North East Somerset, Chelmsford, Cotswold, Eastbourne, Eastleigh, Hinckley & Bosworth, Kingston upon Hull, Mole Valley, North Devon, North Norfolk, Oadby & Wigston, St Albans, Three Rivers, Vale of White Horse, Watford, Winchester & Woking.

Gaining seats

In councils up and down England, Liberal Democrats made gains.

We gained 407 councillors net, with net gains in more than 100 councils.

The biggest number of gains were in Mid Devon (+21), Horsham (+15), Chichester (+14), East Riding of Yorkshire (+14), Stratford on Avon (+14), Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (+13), West Berkshire (+13), Windsor and Maidenhead (+13), Sevenoaks (+11), Surrey Heath (+11).

In total, we elected 1,628 councillors in these elections.

20% of the vote

The BBC's projected national vote share put the Liberal Democrats on 20%.

This is the best result since 2010 and just 6% behind the Conservatives.

  • Among our gained councils is Surrey Heath, where we have taken control from the Conservatives in Michael Gove’s back garden. Senior Conservative cabinet ministers will now be looking nervously over their shoulders.
  • Another key target where we have done well is Elmbridge, which contains Dominic Raab’s Esher and Walton seat. We have gained 6 councillors here, taking 4 from the Conservatives, and are now the largest party.
  • It’s clear that sleaze and scandal surrounding Conservative Ministers over recent months has had a profound impact. Nadhim Zahawi is experiencing a Shakespearean Tragedy in Stratford on Avon as his seat is now controlled by the Lib Dems after we gained 15 seats and took control.
  • Just a few weeks ago we launched our Local Election campaign in Dacorum in Hertfordshire, where Ed Davey foreshadowed today’s results by toppling a Blue Wall of hay bales in a tractor. Today we took control of the council here - the first time Liberal Democrats have run the council since its creation.
  • Following our stunning victory in Tiverton & Honiton last year, we’ve had a great result in Devon in these elections. We gained Mid Devon and Teignbridge, held North Devon, and made a total of 52 gains across the county.
  • After we made gains in Hull overnight to keep control of the council, we’ve also won seats from Labour in Liverpool - gaining 6 seats from Labour as they lost 9.
  • Despite this sea of excellent gains, we were sorry that Mayor Dave Hodgson did not win re-election in Bedford, missing out by just 145 votes. 

The Conservatives have crumbled. The Blue Wall is turning gold.

Now it is clear that the country needs a General Election so the Conservatives can be removed from power in Government.

Today’s results have shown the country that Liberal Democrats can do just that.




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