Elections 2016 - All the key results and analysis in one place

8 May 2016


The endless recounts are over, tired candidates, journalists and count volunteers have finally caught up on some sleep, placards are slowly being taken down around the country, and Zac Goldsmith has been sent to the naughty step to think about what he's done. Possibly.



So, what happened? and what does it all mean? Now's the perfect time to make a brew, put your feet up and digest all the results from Thursday's elections with our handy summary and brief analysis.




The devolved elections - Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland



As expected, Nicola Sturgeon is still the resident of Bute House this weekend, after the SNP comfortably remained the largest party in the Scottish Parliament. They're the first party to win a third term at Holyrood, although (as in their first term) they failed to secure a majority this time under Scotland's proportional voting system.



After a small boost in seats, that leaves the pro-independence Scottish Greens in a strong position to influence Sturgeon's plans in the next five years. But they are not as happy this weekend as the Scottish Conservatives. Ruth Davidson's party more than doubled their seat tally, and will now form the official opposition to the SNP government. Kezia Dugdale's Scottish Labour were left looking glum, as they discovered yet another new low for them - being beaten by the Tories north of Hadrian's Wall...






Meanwhile, in Wales, things looked much better for Labour. Carwyn Jones's party lost only one seat in the National Assembly, meaning they still haven't lost power since the beginning of devolution in 1999. They continued to be greatly flattered by the electoral system in Wales, however. Although the Assembly is elected proportionally, Labour's traditional grip on constituencies in the valleys and the regional distribution of top-up seats allowed them to get close to a majority (29 seats out of 60) on just 32% of the party vote. 



Close to a majority, but not quite there. With the Lib Dems being reduced to just 1 seat, Labour may often have to work with Plaid Cymru (12 seats) to pass budgets and other legislation. Leanne Wood's party only made one gain, but it was enough to overtake the Conservatives (on 11) and return Plaid to its former status as the second largest party in the Senedd. The big story however, was UKIP. They entered the Assembly for the first time, winning 7 seats. Among their new members are two former Tory MPs from England - Neil Hamilton and Mark Reckless.





In Northern Ireland, nothing much appeared to change, although all five governing parties saw a reduction in their share of first preference votes. The DUP and Sinn Fein remained the two largest parties, with the UUP and SDLP retaining their right to participate in the power-sharing Executive. However, unless they are allowed to retain the Justice portfolio as a continued compromise between unionists and nationalists, the Alliance Party are likely to lose their place in the Executive under the terms of the Fresh Start Agreement.



The Northern Ireland Greens gained a second seat in the Assembly, and were joined for the first time by the People Before Profit Alliance, who sprung a surprise on Sinn Fein in its West Belfast stronghold. The DUP's Arlene Foster will continue as First Minister, with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness as her deputy - but only the former's party is large enough to be allowed an effective veto on legislation by tabling "petitions of concern". That means (among other things) the DUP can still block the legalisation of same-sex marriage, even if a majority were to vote for it. 





London Assembly and Mayoral Election



It was thought that without colourful figures like Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone, this year's London Mayoral contest would be a fairly drab affair, attracting a poor turnout. In fact, this hasn't been the case - with turnout boosted by 7 points since 2012. This might have been due to the controversial campaign run by Zac Goldsmith and the Conservatives, which is already being blamed by some for costing them control of City Hall. Sadiq Khan becomes the first Muslim to hold an office this important anywhere in the UK, and with a large mandate of over a million votes (a share of 57% after transfers, to Goldsmith's 43%).



Khan was already in front after first preferences were counted, while the Green candidate Sian Berry won best-of-the-rest in a distant third place with 6% of the vote, just in front of the Lib Dems and UKIP. Respect's George Galloway limped home in seventh place (behind the Womens' Equality Party candidate) with just 1.4% of the vote. In the Assembly, Labour are still the largest party - but (a familiar story in these elections) just short of a majority. The Greens (with 2 seats) and the Lib Dems (reduced to one seat) are Khan's most likely allies when he needs help, but without a two-thirds majority the Assembly lacks any real power to block the Mayor's initiatives.





English Local Elections



124 local councils in England held elections on Thursday, and there was very little change in who controlled them. Labour and the Conservatives each lost control of one more council overall, with the Liberal Democrats gaining control of Watford and one more council ending up hung than in 2012 (when these seats were last contested). UKIP failed to take control of any councils, but did join the Lib Dems in making gains in their total number of councillors at the expense of Labour and the Tories. The Greens ended up just treading water. 



However, beneath the surface, something more significant was going on. These were Jeremy Corbyn's first set of local elections since becoming Labour leader, and whilst his internal allies were doing their best to put a positive spin on the results (pointing out that they had gained some ground on the Tories in their share of the vote since the General Election), the numbers are difficult for Corbyn to hide from when compared to past opposition leaders' performances. While some leaders of the opposition have been flattered by getting to fight council seats that their party last fought in tricky mid-term elections in government, no opposition leader in the last 35 years (and possibly longer) has suffered a net loss of councillors in their first set of local elections. Except Jeremy Corbyn.





Other elections



In addition to local councils, some areas besides London were also choosing a directly-elected mayor. The most notable result was a victory for Labour's Marvin Rees in Bristol, defeating the independent incumbent.



All of England and Wales were also voting for their Police and Crime Commissioners for only the second time. Labour's Alan Billings comfortably held on in South Yorkshire despite several high-profile scandals over policing there in recent years. Nationally, the picture was of the first wave of independents elected in 2012 being unseated by Tory and Labour opponents. UKIP stacked up a lot of votes but these were too thinly spread to win in any of the vast force areas. Plaid Cymru, however, may have benefited from the vote being held on the same day as Assembly Elections in Wales, picking up 2 commissioners.





Finally, there were two by-elections held for seats at Westminster. Both of these were in safe Labour seats, therefore was never any real prospect of them changing hands. Chris Elmore won in Ogmore, where Labour's share of the vote was flat, while Plaid Cymru again seemed to benefit from the effect of the concurrent Assembly Election, increasing their share by 5%. Meanwhile, Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough was a fairer test of party strength, where Gill Furniss increased Labour's share by around 6 points, with UKIP, the Tories and the Greens all going backwards. There was, however, a modest recovery of Lib Dem support, with a 2-point gain for their candidate Shaffaq Mohammed. It wasn't much to write home about, but Tim Farron's party will be relieved to have started heading in the right direction again in at least one of Thursday's elections.











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