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Norwich and Great Yarmouth elections: Counting under way as parties have mixed night nationally

PUBLISHED: 09:48 04 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:29 04 May 2018

Norwich has gone to the polls. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich has gone to the polls. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

The votes are being counted after Norwich and Great Yarmouth headed to the polls.

Polling stations closed at 10pm last night.

A third of the seats on Norwich City Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council up for grabs. There is also a by-election in one Yarmouth ward.

The results are expected this afternoon. Elections are not being held in other parts of Norfolk.

Norwich City Council is currently under the control of Labour. They have 26 seats, the Green Party 10 and the Liberal Democrats three.

The make-up of Great Yarmouth Borough Council is 21 Conservative, 11 Labour, five UKIP and two Tribune members.

Across the rest of the country, 98 overnight counts council results have declared, with Norwich and Great Yarmouth among the remaining 52 results still awaited.

So far, it has been a night of mixed fortunes for the two major parties.

Labour took Plymouth from the Conservatives but was unable to seize Tory “crown jewel” authorities in London, where it had hoped to make gains.

Hillingdon remained in Conservative hands and Mr Corbyn’s party fell well short of the upsets some had predicted in Tory strongholds Wandsworth, Westminster and Kensington.

And Labour failed in its bid to take control of top target Barnet, which was gained by Tories from no overall control.

There were indications that the row over anti-Semitism may have hit its vote in an area of north London with a large Jewish community.

Former Labour councillor Adam Langleben, who lost his seat in West Hendon, tweeted: “We must NEVER have another election like this. No community group should have their vote dictated by their safety. That should shame us.”

The Conservatives gained control of councils in Peterborough, Southend and Basildon, and saw a small swing in their favour outside the capital. But they lost Trafford, their flagship council in the North West, to no overall control.

Party chairman Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth MP, told Sky News: “It’s been a good night for us. We’ve done better than expected and we have seen Labour - who thought they would be sweeping the board in London - thus far not gaining a single council in London.

“Eight years into a government, Labour was losing 4,000 councillors, whereas we at the moment are holding councils and in some areas making positive inroads.”

Theresa May’s party appeared to have benefited from an almost total collapse in the UKIP vote, which saw the Eurosceptic party shed councillors across the country.

UKIP are fielding no candidates at all in Norwich, but are fielding six in Great Yarmouth. However, at last year’s Norfolk County Council elections, UKIP lost all of their seats.

The one point of light for UKIP last night was Derby, where the party held one seat and picked up another, unseating Labour’s leader in the city. Former deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans openly discussed the prospect of the party “crumbling”.

Labour sources described the results as “solid”, saying that the party had consolidated advances made at last year’s general election.

But it suffered from a failure to damp down expectations in a set of elections where its activists, and members of the Corbyn-backing Momentum organisation, put in massive efforts on the doorsteps.

Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan said last year that there was “no corner” of the city where the party could not win and insisted they could challenge the Tories “even in their crown jewels of Wandsworth and Barnet”.

And shadow chancellor John McDonnell raised the prospect last month of the party securing a “significant victory”in Hillingdon.

Carrie Symonds, the Conservative Party’s director of communications, said Labour “threw the kitchen sink” at Wandsworth, adding it was “brilliant news” that they had failed.

Shadow cabinet minister Jonathan Ashworth acknowledged that Labour had “a lot of work to do”, but insisted it was making progress across the country creating “a basis we can build upon for the next general election”.

Make sure you visit this website for the results as they come in.

You can also follow @EDP24 and @EveningNews, along with our reporters @dhannant87, @dangrimmer24 and @JamesCarr_93 for the results as they come in from the local counts.

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