Friday News Review

The start of a long road back

Labour took control of Sheffield early this morning, gaining nine seats from the Lib Dems on leader Nick Clegg’s home turf. In a further blow for the party, Carl Minns leader of Hull council, lost his seat to Labour. The result capped a disastrous night for the Lib Dems. The party was also predicting it “could lose everything” in Liverpool, which has traditionally been a stronghold. In Hull, the party lost ten seats to Labour, with former council leader Mr Minns among the casualties. Labour now has a clear majority in the city. Sheffield, where Mr Clegg has his parliamentary seat, had been governed by the Lib Dems without an absolute majority. The party’s former council leader Paul Scriven insisted that the results were merely a “short-term setback” for the party, and said it should not change direction in response to its drubbing in the polls. Mr Scriven said Lib Dems had to “keep our nerve, keep our backbone and keep bringing fairness to Government and sort out this financial mess”. He told the BBC: “We are in this for the long term, because if not we let the country down.” As the counts were declared in Sheffield, former Labour minister David Blunkett said Cleggmania had become “Clegg pneumonia.” – Yorkshire Post

Liberal Democrat group leader Carl Minns faces being unemployed this morning, having paid the price for cuts which left hundreds of council workers out of a job. In a press conference, Mr Minns admitted his Liberal Democrat party was facing defeat in Hull and losing control of the council. He also conceded that he was facing losing his own seat in Kings Park although the result has yet to be confirmed. He said: “It is clear that the Liberal Democrats are not going to have a good night tonight.” – Hull Daily Mail

Gray has got to go… will go…

SNP leader Alex Salmond promised a referendum on Scottish independence as early results indicated an historic night for his party. Huge inroads have been made into Labour’s central belt strongholds, with John Mason taking the Glasgow Shettleston constituency, James Dornan taking the Cathcart seat and Sandra White winning in Glasgow Kelvin. There were also SNP gains in Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Hamilton, Larkhall & Stonehouse, East Kilbride and Clydesdale. The SNP also snatched Edinburgh Pentlands from the Conservatives – with former Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie losing his seat – and Edinburgh Southern from the Lib Dems. Meanwhile, Labour leader Iain Gray managed to hold his East Lothian seat – but by just 151 votes. He said that the collapse of the Liberal Democrats, who have already lost deposits, may have benefited the SNP. The final winners and losers are not expected to be confirmed until later in the afternoon. Voters are electing 129 MSPs, 73 for constituencies and a further 56 on regional lists. – STV

Alex Salmond was last night on course for a second term as First Minister as voters across Scotland turned away in large numbers from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.  Former Labour minister Andy Kerr became the first major scalp of the Holyrood election, losing to the SNP’s Linda Fabiani in the East Kilbride constituency. Mr Kerr, who was Labour’s finance spokesman in the last. Elsewhere, there were widespread signs of a collapse in the Lib Dem vote, with Tavish Scott’s party losing their deposit in the first seat of the night to be declared in Rutherglen, where the SNP vote surged by 16 per cent. The broad picture looks set to deliver an SNP victory and a return to Bute House for Alex Salmond with an increased mandate. If his re-election is confirmed today, Mr Salmond is expected to press ahead with his preferred plan to run a second SNP minority government for the next five years. Early indications last night suggested clearly that he will be in a far stronger position than over the past four years, when he held a one-seat majority over Labour. Labour sources were last night indicating they expected the SNP to beat them in several previously secure seats, and that their rivals could have a double-digit lead in seats by the time all the results came in. The last opinion poll of the campaign, published last night, suggested the SNP had double the support of Labour, and was in sight of a majority on its own.  – the Scotsman

Encouraging signs in Wales

Labour fears it may “fall short” of gaining an overall majority in the Assembly elections. The party has led the opinion polls since The Senedd went into recess last month – and was recently tipped to go into government alone following yesterday’s vote. Party sources say they expect some gains and an improvement on the 26 seats it held in the last assembly – but Labour insiders admit they may not be able to surpass the “magic figure” of 31 needed to claim an overall majority. First Minister Carwyn Jones, who attended the count in Bridgend, has downplayed those suggestions – saying the result is still too early to call. – Western Mail

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One Response to “Friday News Review”

  1. Robert says:

    When you have Plaid telling you we are not going to rule out going into coalition with the Tories, what idiot said that for god sake. In Wales the Tories are still seen as Thatcherism people want to have jobs, they do not care if the job is working for the state, yet the Tories are saying these must be cut, and then you hear Plaid would perhaps go into coalition, totally mad.

    Not knowing your voters

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