Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has praised a “historic night” for his party following several gains across Conservative ‘blue wall’ seats throughout the country.
While counting is still ongoing in 61 councils across England, as of 12:30 this afternoon the Liberal Democrats had gained 66 councillors across England, notably taking back control of Hull City Council. By contrast, the Conservatives had lost 137 councillors and seven councils.
Speaking to Radio 4’s Today Programme, Sir Ed said: “It’s looking like a historic night for the Lib Dems, particularly in Conservative heartlands like Wimbledon, West Oxfordshire and Cheadle.
“We are making big gains from the Conservatives, gains I think we can turn into seats at the next general election.
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“It’s also a huge vote of confidence for Liberal Democrat-run councils like Richmond where the Conservatives have all but disappeared.”
Speaking to the BBC today, polling expert Sir John Curtice argued that the results so far had “helped the Liberal Democrats more than Labour.”
Earlier this morning, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said the Conservatives had taken voters “for granted”.
Cooper added: “People across the UK are fed up with being ignored and taken for granted by Boris Johnson and the Conservatives.
“It’s clear that, in many parts of the country, it is the Liberal Democrats who can defeat the Conservatives and get Boris Johnson out of Downing Street.”
Meanwhile, Labour’s outgoing Hull City Council leader Daren Hale has argued that the party’s loss there following over ten years of control is a result of Conservative voters switching to the Liberal Democrats.
Hale told BBC Radio Humberside earlier today that: “In the seats we held, our majority went up. It was the collapse of the Tory vote which, in a sense the Labour party isn’t responsible for, that led to those seats changing hands.”
Hull’s new Liberal Democrat council leader Mike Ross said his party won control as “people feel failed by a Labour council after over a decade”.