UK Local Elections – Councils

Signs for May 2007 Scottish Parliament and loc...
Signs for May 2007 Scottish Parliament and local elections. Picture taken in Edinburgh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a bad night and day for David Cameron and the Conservatives last night. A bad night that the Liberal Democrats joined them in. Labour managed to surpass the modest target they had set. In the 181 councils across the UK that elected new councillors Labour gained 32 of them. The Conservatives lost 12 councils and the Liberal Democrats lost 1. Labour gained councils in the South and Midlands where they needed to regain ground if they are to have any hope of electoral success in the future.

In terms of councillors themselves Labour gained 823, while the Conservatives lost 405 and the Liberal Democrats lost 336.

It was one of the worst nights for Liberal Democrats since they were founded in 1988 and of course the Conservatives took a battering also even David Cameron’s own Whitney constituency elected a Labour Councillor.

This is to be expected during a mid-term election with the Government taking tough economic decisions which are dislike on the ground.

Interestingly 9 cities rejected the idea of having a locally elected Mayor, while Bristol voted to have one and Doncaster voted to keep theirs.

This is again been seen as a defeat for the Government but it must be remembered that they were brought in by the Labour Government.

In Scotland both the Scottish National Party and Labour gained 2 councils each and gained a similar number of councillors. They failed to beat Labour and the end it was the other parties, especially the Liberal Democrats who lost out to Labour and the SNP.

In Wales it wasn’t a great night for Plaid Cymru who lost control of their only council, Caerphilly, and they lost 41 Councillors. Those weren’t the highest looses, as again the brunt was felt by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

In England, the Greens are now the fourth largest party on English Councils and they gained 5 seats in England alone (11 nationally). The BNP lost all the seats they were defending in England and failed. It is also unlikely that they will do well in the London Assembly. UKIP whose vote went up, but they have failed to convert that into seats as they may have allowed Labour victories by splitting the Conservative vote.

So a good result for Labour and the SNP, while the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will have to reconsider their party strategies.

House of Commons to Debate Loan to Ireland

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This Evening the House of Commons will be debating the Loans to Ireland Bill which will allow the United Kingdom to give a loan of £3,250 million to Ireland.

The plan is that the bill will finish off all stages today. It will pass the Committee stage in the whole House.

Already today the issue has been raised four times in the House of Commons. The first time by Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, during Northern Ireland Questions, in relation to assets held by NAMA in Northern Ireland and suggested that maybe some of these assets could be used as collateral in the loan. The second time was in relation to the effect of the economy in the Republic on the North. Northern Ireland Minister, Hugo Swire MP for East Devon, said that it was important that the UK was seen as part of the solution for Ireland and not the problem.

During Prime Ministers Questions, Mark Reckless MP, again, raised the issue of the loan to Ireland and suggested that the UK does not follow the wishes of the German Finance Minister. David Cameron in his response agreed with Mark Reckless and said that he was glad that the UK could come to Ireland’s aid.

I will be watching the debate on the bill and it will be interesting to see some of the remarks that are made.

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The Con/Lib Agreement on Europe

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My last post had a quick look at what the Con/Lib Agreement said on Political Reform. Now look at what should be a what the Agreement says on the EU. As a Euroblogger I probably should have done this first!

The UK will not join the Euro. No surprise there.

They will try to limit the Working Time Directive in its application to the UK.

The 1972 European Communities Act will be amended so that any proposed future Treaty that transferred areas of power, or competences, would be subject to a referendum on that Treaty. Basically the idea of the Irish Crotty Judgement incorporated into UK Law.

The Sovereignty Bill is only a maybe. The basis will be “examined”

They will press for the European Parliament only to have one seat, in Brussels. I hope they will push hard on this!

Thay have agreed that that all forthcoming legislation in the area of criminal justice will be judged on a case by case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security and protecting Britain’s civil liberties. Britain will not participate in the establishment of any European Public Prosecutor.

It is an interesting agreement on Europe and it looks like the Liberal Democrats managed to hold back the Conservatives on some of the most europhobic parts of the party.

Another interesting part of this is that Nick Clegg may actually have more influence before a European Council then David Cameron. I am sure he will be ensuring that he attends the get togethers of the Liberal Leaders before summits, David Cameron on the other hand has no one to meet in the ECR, the Conservatives grouping in the European Parliament.

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Some points from the Conservative and Liberal Agreement: Political Reform

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The Liberal Democrats have posted the agreement online. Here are some of things that jump out at me on Political Reform.

  • We agree to establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation.
  • The parties agree to the establishment of five year fixed-term parliaments
  • The parties will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies.
  • The parties will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall,
  • We have agreed to establish a commission to consider the ‘West Lothian question’
  • The parties agree to the implementation of the Calman Commission proposals and the offer of a referendum on further Welsh devolution.

Some big things there! What jumps out at you?

Also David Cameron has just announced that Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister will be responsible for Political Reform. So this will be an important part of the agreement.

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The New UK Government

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Taken from the StephenSpillane.com Facebook page notes:

Here is the cabinet as it is announced. The Liberal Democrats are expected to get 5 posts, 3  are confirmed (Clegg, Laws, Cable), but 2 others have been mentioned (Huhne (Climate and Energy) and Alexander (Scotland) . So far only one woman as been appointed. (13:20 update)

The Full Cabinet as Announced:

Prime Minister – David Cameron (Con)

Deputy Prime Minister – Nick Clegg (LD)

Chancellor of the Exchequer – George Osborne (Con)

Foreign Secretary – William Hague (Con)

Secretary of State for Education – Michael Gove (Con)

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – Iain Duncan Smith (Con)

Secretary of State for Health – Andrew Lansley (Con)

Secretary of State for Scotland – Danny Alexander (LD)

Secretary of State for Defence – Liam Fox (Con)

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change – Chris Huhne (LD)

Secretary of State for Home Affairs and minister for Women and Equality – Theresa May (Con)

Secretary of State of Justice and Lord Chancellor – Kenneth Clarke (Con)

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills – Vince Cable (LD)

Chief Whip – Patrick McLoughlin (Con)

Chief Secretary to the Treasury – David Laws (LD)

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Eric Pickles (Con)

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Caroline Spelman (Con)

Secretary of State for Transport – Philip Hammond (Con)

Secretary of State for International Development – Andrew Mitchell (Con)

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – Jeremy Hunt (Con)

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Owen Paterson (Con)

Secretary of State for Wales – Cheryl Gillan (Con)

Leader of the House of Lords, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Lord Strathclyde (Con)

Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal – Sir George Young (Con)

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Paymaster General – Francis Maude (Con)

Minister of State, Cabinet Office – Oliver Letwin (Con)

Minister of State (Universities and Science) – Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills – David Willetts (Con)

Minister without portfolio – Baroness Warsi (also Conservative Party chairman) (Con)

Attorney General – Dominic Grieve (Con)

Appointed:

Prime Minister: David Cameron (Con)

Deputy Prime Minister: Nick Clegg (LD)

Chancellor of the Exchequer: George Osborne (Con)

Foreign Secretary: William Hague (Con)

Health Secretary: Andrew Lansley (Con)

Defence Secretary: Liam Fox (Con)

Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary: Ken Clarke (Con)

Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality: Theresa May (Con)

Chief Whip: Patrick McLoughlin (Con)

Business Secretary: Vince Cable (LD)

Schools Secretary: Michael Gove (Con)

Chief Secretary to the Treasury: David Laws (LD)

Scotland Secretary: Danny Alexander (LD)

15:15 Communities and Local Government Secretary: Eric Pickles (Con)

15:35 Work and Pensions Secretary: Iain Duncan Smith (Con)

Possible Appointments:

Attorney General: Dominic Grieve (Con)

Environment and Climate Change Secretary: Chris Huhne (LD)

Culture Secretary: Jeremy Hunt (Con)

Conservative Party Chairman: Baroness Warsi (Con)

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Caroline Spelman (Con)

Cabinet Office: Francis Maude (Con)

Still to be Appointed:

Welsh Secretary

Northern Ireland Secretary

Transport Secretary

International Development Secretary

Paymaster General


Baroness Warsi – Conservative Party chairman
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Tories: No Referendum on Lisbon

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ConservativeHome have a rough outline of the new Conservative Party policy towards the EU. While they will not look for the “unratification” of the Lisbon Treaty, they will seek to renegotiate the UK’s ties with the EU.

To be honest any renegotiation of ties will be a loss of influence for the UK. As areas that they opt-out on they cannot influence and they might have to go along with somethings due to access of the single market whether they want to or not.

Also if they do renegotiate then any future appointments of high powered posts could not be British, currently the UK have possibities for the two highest poistions. In two and half years they would have very little chance of getting anything that is availible.

The one thing this policy will do though, is keep the Conservatives united. A referendum on Europe or Lisbon could have split the Conservatives. This is the safest option availible to Cameron should he want to stay Prime Minister for a bit!

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