No denying that last Thursday’s local elections saw Labour on the ropes. But it’s still worth noting that here in Manchester the march of the Liberal Democrats has been reversed… and the Green councillor is on shaky ground.
The city’s Lib Dems had every reason to enter the local elections high on optimism. This time last year they scored a spectacular parliamentary victory; taking Manchester Withington with a 17.3 per cent swing. Had they gained ten council seats this time, they’d have taken control. That was a tall order, given that only 32 of the 96 seats were up for election and they already held some of those… but ‘maybe next year,’ they must have thought. Losing four seats to Labour, gives that party 61 councillors. Next year the Lib Dems must hold thirteen of the 32 seats up for election and gain fourteen more to take the council.
Much more significantly, Labour’s gains threaten that newly elected MP. My more optimistic post election forecasts – that ID cards would be abandoned and Metrolink funding found – have been disproved and now my suggestion that Leech is here to stay is looking rather hasty.