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Labour wins seats but fails to make significant breakthrough in London

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Labour made only marginal gains across London in the 2018 local election, winning no new councils in the capital overnight.

Initial reports suggest there was a 2% swing from the Conservatives to Labour in London; while outside the capital, there was a swing from Labour to the Tories of 1.5%.

Going into this set of elections, Labour had expected to make big gains in Westminster City Council, Kensington & Chelsea RBC and in Barnet and Wandsworth LBCs.

However, the Conservatives have held on to Kensington & Chelsea and while the Barnet result is not yet known, in the other boroughs Labour was not close to winning power.

The Conservatives suffered one particularly large loss in Richmond LBC, in a surprise win by the Liberal Democrats. In commenting on his victory, the council’s Liberal Democrat group leader Gareth Roberts said: “[Voters] just don’t like the Tories round here anymore.”

In Wandsworth, Labour gained seven seats while the Conservatives lost eight but the Tories held on to retain control.

Voting turnout was relatively high at 43.7% in Barnet LBC, labelled another key battleground by both parties. Barry Rawlings, Labour group leader, said that issues of anti-semitism in Labour had affected his party in the borough - it did not make the gains it needed to take control of the council - before pointing out the work his local party had done to counter the problem. Of the 63 candidates put forward in Barnet, 11 were Jewish, including one rabbi.

In south west London, the Tories suffered large losses in Hammersmith & Fulham LBC, with several prominent councillors losing their seats, including leader of the Conservative group, Joe Carlebach.

Next door in Kensington & Chelsea, Labour group leader Robert Atkinson ceded defeat at around 4am, before the official result was known.

Cllr Atkinson told the Evening Standard: “We know we’ve taken the second seat in St Helen’s and I think we are quite happy we are going to take Colville which gives me a bigger team. More Labour councillors means we can better scrutinise the inexperienced Tories.”

There was subsequent confirmation that the Conservatives had held on to Kensington & Chelsea, with the loss of just one seat to Labour.

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