Results in the local elections represent a vote of confidence in Conservatives councils, while questions over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership played a significant role in Labour failing to make further inroads, according to the leader of the Local Government Association’s Conservative group.
David Simmonds told LGC the combination of a strong message on delivering on local priorities and a leadership seen to be acting in the national interest helped to maintain the Conservatives position as the largest party in local government.
He said: “The Conservative message has very much been about the ability to get things done on behalf of residents and in electoral terms that appears to have paid off, so we should treat it as a vote of confidence.
“One of the things that came over strongly on the doorstep was voters felt the Conservative party was showing leadership in the national interest in a way they felt, probably with the troubles over antisemitism and other things, Jeremy Corbyn simply wasn’t.”
Cllr Simmonds, who is deputy leader of Hillingdon LBC where the Conservatives strengthened their control of the borough despite being targeted by Labour, said his party had now “moved away” from the “tradition” of doing badly in local elections after doing well in a general election.
He said: “Internally the party and councils have learned from each other on how you identify the needs and wants of residents and make sure that is what you are delivering.”
Cllr Simmonds also paid tribute to Sean Anstee, the former Conservative leader of Trafford MBC, which is now under no overall control with Labour as the largest party.
He said: “Sean has done a really good job and resident satisfaction with services is extremely high [there]. It is the one really sad piece of news for the Conservative local government family.”