The week on Twitter

5 May 2017

Welcome to the latest edition of This Week on Twitter for Westminster HUB where we take a look at the week’s biggest political news and controversies through the eyes of Twitter. This week saw Theresa May attack her Brussels counterparts for, according to her, attempting to interfere with the British election which received very mixed coverage online. However the key political event this week is the local elections with thousands of council seats up for grabs and with extra focus on the results this time being just weeks away from the snap general election. The process is still ongoing as we speak but this is how the results declared overnight on Thursday panned out through the eyes of Twitter.


As usual on election nights predictions of glory and doom came in through Twitter soon after the polls closed. In Wales, Britain Elects was reporting some of Swansea's Liberal Democrats who were predicting a tough night for Labour although this was simply echoing what polls had been predicting too.  

Expectations had been set by disappointing polls from the Labour perspective and as the early results came in one Twitter user was sure to remind the party that it would make history if polls were accurate. No official opposition has ever lost seats overall in three consecutive council elections but this was the fate that Labour were staring at as the night began. 



As the initial results started coming in, it appeared that the night was threatening to turn out as bad as predicted for Labour. With Conservatives starting the night positively making gains from Labour and UKIP primarily, Stephen Bush from the New Statesman magazine spelled out how bad it was looking for Labour and patchy at best for Liberal Democrats. 


There was one particular piece of bad news that stood out among the early election results as Gillian Troughton who stood as Labour parliamentary candidate in the recent Copeland by-election also lost her seat as a councillor in Howgate. She was one of hundreds of Labour seats that fell in the overnight results, with more counting taking place on Friday. 

On the other hand for the Conservatives it was one of their finest local election performances ever. Stephen Bush, admirably making it through the night on his live blog, reported that it was the most successful performance by the party in over 40 years. 

Another Twitter user looked a little closer at the early results that the Conservatives were enjoying and analysed the results in terms of leave and remain. It looked like the Conservatives tough stance on Brexit was paying off as the biggest swings towards the party took place in high leave voting areas. 

Experienced election expert, John Curtice, appeared on TV to discuss the election results which seemed to show good, bad and ugly results. Good news for Conservatives who enjoyed a 7 point swing from Labour while Lib Dems made losses in terms of seats but saw their vote share overall rise, the ugly news was reserved for UKIP who at the time of writing were yet to win a seat. 

UKIP's demise was the headline story for most media outlets and it made waves on social media as well. The once insurgent right wing party suffered heavy losses across the country and it was predicted that  their vote share could fall as low as 3% suffering which would be an almost 20% fall. 

It was a mixed night of results for the Liberal Democrats who suffered losses but also enjoyed a slight increase in vote share. The BBC's Norman Smith reported a 'senior Tory' telling him the Lib Dems could spin the result in to a positive if they can put themselves as the main opposition as opposed to Labour. 

It was a very positive night for the Green party who enjoyed net gains of 5 seats in the early results and only suffered one loss. There was also success in a tactically significant area of the country for the upcoming general election in the Isle of Wight. 

There was some good news for Labour as the results continued to filter through as Labour enjoyed significant success in the Doncaster mayoral race winning comfortably against the Conservatives. Labour also bounced back from the early predictions of doom from the Liberal Democrats in the constituency to actually increase their majority in the Swansea council results. Both of these results were highlighted by shadow chancellor John McDonnell who praised the fact results were not as bad as predicted as he did the early morning media. 

With counting in many constituencies still taking place and to be announced throughout Friday things could improve or indeed get worse as the day progresses. How much these results reflect what might happen in the general election remains to be seen but they will be an interesting barometer 


Follow Backbench and Westminster Hub on Twitter for the latest local election news along with the latest political news. The Week on Twitter will be back with a roundup of the week’s biggest political headlines soon. To follow any of our editors on Twitter follow this link for all the information you’ll need.



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