2006 United Kingdom local elections

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2006 United Kingdom local elections
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
  2005 4 May 2006 2007  

All 32 London boroughs, all 36 metropolitan boroughs,
20 out of 46 unitary authorities and 88 out of 238 English districts
 First partySecond partyThird party
  David Cameron - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2010.jpg Blair June 2007.jpg Sir Ming Campbell MP 2008 cropped.jpg
Leader David Cameron Tony Blair Menzies Campbell
Party Conservative Labour Liberal Democrats
Leader since6 December 200521 July 19942 March 2006
Percentage39%26%25%
SwingDecrease2.svg1%Decrease2.svg2%Steady2.svg
Councils683013
Councils +/-Increase2.svg11Decrease2.svg17Increase2.svg1
Councillors1,8301,439909
Councillors +/-Increase2.svg316Decrease2.svg319Increase2.svg2

Local government elections took place in England (only) on Thursday 4 May 2006. Polling stations were open between 7:00 and 22:00.

Contents

All London borough council seats were up for election, as well as a third of the seats on each of the metropolitan borough councils, and a third of some unitary authorities and shire districts. Several councils elected half of their seats: these were Adur, Cheltenham, Fareham, Gosport, Hastings, Nuneaton and Bedworth, and Oxford. Local elections follow a four-year cycle, and the 2006 election was the follow-on from the 2002 elections.

Mayoral contests were held in the London boroughs of Hackney, Lewisham and Newham, and in Watford. Crewe and Nantwich held a referendum on the issue of whether or not to have a directly elected mayor.

This was the first set of elections since David Cameron was elected leader of the Conservative Party. The Conservatives strengthened their position as the largest party in local government, making headway against Labour.

Summary of results

Note: Figures for number of councils and councillors is only in regard to those councils up for election in 2006, and does not include councils not up for election.

PartyCouncillorsCouncils
NumberChangeNumberChange
Conservative 1,830Increase2.svg31668Increase2.svg11
Labour 1,439Decrease2.svg31930Decrease2.svg17
Liberal Democrats 909Increase2.svg213Increase2.svg1
Residents 35Decrease2.svg130Steady2.svg
BNP 33Increase2.svg330Steady2.svg
Green 29Increase2.svg200Steady2.svg
Respect 16Increase2.svg130Steady2.svg
Liberal 8Decrease2.svg20Steady2.svg
Health Concern 5Increase2.svg10Steady2.svg
CPA 3Increase2.svg20Steady2.svg
Socialist Alternative 3Steady2.svg0Steady2.svg
UKIP 1Steady2.svg0Steady2.svg
Other0Steady2.svg0Steady2.svg
No overall control 65Increase2.svg5n/an/a

Pre-election predictions

On 7 April, a report produced by the University of Plymouth for Newsnight, based on results of council by-elections in the past three months, suggested that, compared to the 2002 local elections:

This prediction may be seen to be almost entirely inaccurate.

Projected national share

In an analysis for the Sunday Times, psephologists Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, of the University of Plymouth, produced an estimate of the national share of the vote. According to their calculations, the parties would have the following share of the vote:

They note that this is estimate not intended to predict the vote share in an actual general election, because voters often vote differently in general elections due to local issues, or to a wish to "fire a shot across the government's bows" without actually removing it. [3]

The BBC had a similar national share prediction, based on the results of 950 key wards:

Notable battles

Campaign launches

UK Independence Party (UKIP) launched their local election campaign on 28 March 2006, [6] where they put forward their policies for the local elections which included: the reduction of council tax by 50%; local binding referendums on major issues; and giving councils control of business rates and letting them receive the proceeds from stamp duty.

The Liberal Democrats' campaign launch was held on 3 April 2006 [7] and was led by Sir Menzies Campbell MP. [7]

Labour's campaign for the local elections was launched on 5 April 2006 [8] and was led by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair MP (Lab, Sedgefield) and the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Blair's expected successor, Gordon Brown MP (Lab, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) in the wake of rumours of a split between the two over when Blair should stand down as PM. [9]

Respect launched their election manifesto on 10 April 2006 calling the local elections a referendum on New Labour. [10]

The Greens launched their campaign on 11 April 2006, having already announced that 1,300 candidates will be standing across the country. [11] [12]

The BNP launched their election manifesto on 14 April 2006. Soon after, Margaret Hodge, the Labour Employment Minister, told the press that 8 out of 10 white voters in her east London constituency of Barking admitted being tempted to vote for the BNP, hinting that the party's share of council seats was set to increase. [13]

The Conservatives launched their campaign on 18 April. David Cameron, Eric Pickles, Caroline Spelman and Peter Ainsworth fronted a press conference that focused on environmental issues. [14]

Timeline

DateEvent
28 MarchUKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) launch local election campaign. [6]
29 MarchThe London Communications Agency issue a study suggesting that the Conservatives would gain a minimum of six London Borough councils. [15]
3 AprilThe Liberal Democrats launch local election campaign. [16]
4 AprilIndependent anti-war strategic voting web site launched in London. [17]
5 AprilLabour launch their local election campaign. [18]

Conservatives offer a chance for "ordinary people" to appear in the local election broadcast. [19]

10 AprilRespect launch their local election campaign. [10]
14 AprilThe British National Party launch their election campaign.
18 AprilThe first party election broadcast by the Labour Party depicts David Cameron MP (Con, Witney) as a chamleon and even launch a website to promote the idea. [20] See also: Dave the Chameleon.
19 AprilThe Conservative Election Broadcast (using the tagline "Vote Blue Go Green") was presented by people responding to the Conservatives request for "ordinary people" as reported on 5 April 2006.
20 AprilThe Liberal Democrat Election Broadcast recounted the election of Menzies Campbell MP as leader.
24 AprilThe Green Party Election Broadcast asks voters to use their multi member vote to elect Greens onto their local council.
26 AprilIn a day described by the tabloid press as "New Labour's Black Wednesday", three cabinet ministers have three different 'crises' on the same day.
27 AprilLiberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell MP challenges the Conservatives over their 'Vote Blue Go Green' campaign.
28 AprilLocal Government Minister David Miliband MP urges voters to "think local" rather than on national issues.
2 MayThe Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats criticise the Labour Party for taking credit for London's successful Olympic bid in their Party Election Broadcast.

The West Midlands Police confirm their presence at Birmingham polling stations on election day amid fears of widespread ballot fraud.

3 MayThe final PMQs before the election sees party leaders debating national scandals and Labour Party insiders predicting the worst results since 1968. [21]
4 MayThe Labour Party acknowledges it could face the loss of former strongholds and even slip into third place nationally in local government numbers. [22]

England

London boroughs

CouncilPrevious controlResultDetails
Barking and Dagenham Labour Labour hold Details
Barnet Conservative Conservative hold Details
Bexley Labour Conservative gain Details
Brent Labour No overall control gain Details
Bromley Conservative Conservative hold Details
Camden Labour No overall control gain Details
Croydon Labour Conservative gain Details
Ealing Labour Conservative gain Details
Enfield Conservative Conservative hold Details
Greenwich Labour Labour hold Details
Hackney Labour Labour hold Details
Hammersmith and Fulham Labour Conservative gain Details
Haringey Labour Labour hold Details
Harrow No overall control Conservative gain Details
Havering No overall control Conservative gain Details
Hillingdon No overall control Conservative gain Details
Hounslow Labour No overall control gain Details
Islington Liberal Democrats No overall control gain Details
Kensington and Chelsea Conservative Conservative hold Details
Kingston upon Thames Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats hold Details
Lambeth No overall control Labour gain Details
Lewisham Labour No overall control gain Details
Merton Labour No overall control gain Details
Newham Labour Labour hold Details
Redbridge Conservative Conservative hold Details
Richmond upon Thames Conservative Liberal Democrats gain Details
Southwark No overall control No overall control hold Details
Sutton Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats hold Details
Tower Hamlets Labour Labour hold Details
Waltham Forest No overall control No overall control hold Details
Wandsworth Conservative Conservative hold Details
Westminster Conservative Conservative hold Details

Metropolitan boroughs

One third of the seats in all 36 Metropolitan Boroughs were up for election.

CouncilPrevious controlResultDetails
Barnsley Labour Labour hold Details
Birmingham No overall control No overall control hold Details
Bolton No overall control No overall control hold Details
Bradford No overall control No overall control hold Details
Bury Labour No overall control gain Details
Calderdale No overall control No overall control hold Details
Coventry No overall control Conservative gain Details
Doncaster No overall control No overall control hold Details
Dudley Conservative Conservative hold Details
Gateshead Labour Labour hold Details
Kirklees No overall control No overall control hold Details
Knowsley Labour Labour hold Details
Leeds No overall control No overall control hold Details
Liverpool Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats hold Details
Manchester Labour Labour hold Details
Newcastle upon Tyne Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats hold Details
North Tyneside No overall control No overall control hold Details
Oldham Labour Labour hold Details
Rochdale No overall control No overall control hold Details
Rotherham Labour Labour hold Details
St. Helens No overall control No overall control hold Details
Salford Labour Labour hold Details
Sandwell Labour Labour hold Details
Sefton No overall control No overall control hold Details
Sheffield Labour Labour hold Details
Solihull Conservative Conservative hold Details
South Tyneside Labour Labour hold Details
Stockport Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats hold Details
Sunderland Labour Labour hold Details
Tameside Labour Labour hold Details
Trafford Conservative Conservative hold Details
Wakefield Labour Labour hold Details
Walsall Conservative Conservative hold Details
Wigan Labour Labour hold Details
Wirral No overall control No overall control hold Details
Wolverhampton Labour Labour hold Details

Unitary authorities

One third of the council seats were up for election in 20 unitary authorities.

CouncilPrevious controlResultDetails
Blackburn with Darwen Labour Labour hold Details
Bristol No overall control No overall control hold Details
Derby Labour [A] No overall control gain Details
Halton Labour Labour hold Details
Hartlepool Labour Labour hold Details
Kingston upon Hull No overall control No overall control hold Details
Milton Keynes Liberal Democrats No overall control gain Details
North East Lincolnshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Peterborough Conservative Conservative hold Details
Plymouth Labour No overall control gain Details
Portsmouth No overall control No overall control hold Details
Reading Labour Labour hold Details
Slough No overall control No overall control hold Details
Southampton No overall control No overall control hold Details
Southend-on-Sea Conservative Conservative hold Details
Stoke-on-Trent Labour No overall control gain Details
Swindon Conservative Conservative hold Details
Thurrock Conservative Conservative hold Details
Warrington Labour No overall control gain Details
Wokingham Conservative Conservative hold Details
A Derby council was in no overall control after the previous election in a Liberal Democrat/Conservative administration. After a by-election in July 2005 Labour gained one councillor off the Liberal Democrats, thereby gaining control of the council. [23]

District councils

Half of council

CouncilPrevious controlResultDetails
Adur Conservative Conservative hold Details
Cheltenham No overall control No overall control hold Details
Fareham Conservative Conservative hold Details
Gosport No overall control gain Details
Hastings Conservative gain Details
Nuneaton and Bedworth Labour Labour hold Details
Oxford No overall control No overall control hold Details

Third of council

In 81 English district authorities one third of the council was up for election.

CouncilPrevious controlResultDetails
Amber Valley Conservative Conservative hold Details
Barrow-in-Furness No overall control gain Details
Basildon Conservative Conservative hold Details
Basingstoke and Deane No overall control No overall control hold Details
Bassetlaw Conservative gain Details
Bedford No overall control No overall control hold Details
Brentwood Conservative Conservative hold Details
Broxbourne Conservative Conservative hold Details
Burnley No overall control No overall control hold Details
Cambridge Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats hold Details
Cannock Chase No overall control No overall control hold Details
Carlisle No overall control No overall control hold Details
Castle Point Conservative Conservative hold Details
Cherwell Conservative Conservative hold Details
Chester No overall control No overall control hold Details
Chorley Conservative gain Details
Colchester No overall control No overall control hold Details
Congleton Conservative Conservative hold Details
Craven No overall control No overall control hold Details
Crawley Conservative gain Details
Crewe and Nantwich No overall control No overall control hold Details
Daventry Conservative Conservative hold Details
Eastbourne Conservative Conservative hold Details
Eastleigh Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats hold Details
Ellesmere Port and Neston Labour Labour hold Details
Elmbridge No overall control No overall control hold Details
Epping Forest No overall control No overall control hold Details
Exeter No overall control No overall control hold Details
Gloucester No overall control No overall control hold Details
Great Yarmouth Conservative Conservative hold Details
Harlow No overall control No overall control hold Details
Harrogate No overall control gain Details
Hart No overall control No overall control hold Details
Havant Conservative Conservative hold Details
Hertsmere Conservative Conservative hold Details
Huntingdonshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
Hyndburn Conservative Conservative hold Details
Ipswich No overall control No overall control hold Details
Lincoln Labour Labour hold Details
Macclesfield Conservative Conservative hold Details
Maidstone No overall control No overall control hold Details
Mole Valley Conservative gain Details
Newcastle-under-Lyme No overall control gain Details
North Hertfordshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
Norwich No overall control No overall control hold Details
Pendle Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats hold Details
Penwith No overall control No overall control hold Details
Preston No overall control No overall control hold Details
Purbeck Conservative Conservative hold Details
Redditch No overall control gain Details
Reigate and Banstead Conservative Conservative hold Details
Rochford Conservative Conservative hold Details
Rossendale Conservative Conservative hold Details
Rugby No overall control No overall control hold Details
Runnymede Conservative Conservative hold Details
Rushmoor Conservative Conservative hold Details
St Albans Liberal Democrats gain Details
Shrewsbury and Atcham Conservative gain Details
South Bedfordshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
South Cambridgeshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
South Lakeland Liberal Democrats gain Details
Stevenage Labour Labour hold Details
Stratford-on-Avon Conservative Conservative hold Details
Stroud Conservative Conservative hold Details
Swale Conservative Conservative hold Details
Tamworth Conservative Conservative hold Details
Tandridge Conservative Conservative hold Details
Three Rivers Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats hold Details
Tunbridge Wells Conservative Conservative hold Details
Watford Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats hold Details
Waveney Conservative Conservative hold Details
Welwyn Hatfield Conservative Conservative hold Details
West Lancashire Conservative Conservative hold Details
West Lindsey No overall control gain Details
West Oxfordshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
Weymouth and Portland No overall control No overall control hold Details
Winchester Conservative gain Details
Woking No overall control No overall control hold Details
Worcester Conservative Conservative hold Details
Worthing Conservative Conservative hold Details
Wyre Forest No overall control No overall control hold Details

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