Voters still choose Labour despite 'unpopular' Miliband

A poll by former Conservative party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft has found Labour could win "a comfortable majority" in the 2015 general election.

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Tower Hamlets counting three days after polls closed

Police officers were present at Tower Hamlets polling stations as part of crackdown on voter intimidation and fraud. Credit: PA

An East End London borough has still not completed its council election count more than three days after polls closed.

Electoral chiefs at Tower Hamlets suspended their operations at around 3am today until Monday daytime.

Recounts have been taking place at Bromley South ward.

The provisional council line-up shows Tower Hamlets First Group - backing re-elected mayor Lutfur Rahman - and Labour on 18 seats each. There are four Tories and no party has overall control.

Even when the Bromley result is resolved the councillors' team will not be complete.

There will still be three vacancies in Blackwall and Cubitt Town where the election was postponed after a candidate's death.

David Davis calls for early EU exit vote over Ukip fears

David Cameron faced demands yesterday to hold an early referendum on Europe as a poll by a Tory peer showed Labour on course for victory at next year’s general election.

In an article for The Sunday Times (£), David Davis, a standard bearer of the Tory right, warned that Cameron’s policy position on the European Union lacks “both clarity and credibility”.

Former Conservative minister and shadow home secretary Credit: PA

He wrote: "We appear to be moving crab-like towards a referendum in 2017, without a clearly articulated set of strategic negotiating aims that might make it worthwhile to stay in the EU, or a clear vision of what we will do if the people decide they want to leave.

"We should start by bringing the referendum forward to 2016. The reform negotiation has barely got under way, precisely because the date is so distant [...] if we do not grasp this nettle, I can see the UKIP resurgence carrying all the way through to the general election".

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Miliband pledges to attract voters from 'all walks of life'

Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Labour leader Ed Miliband. Credit: Reuters

Ed Miliband said he remained determined to attract voters "from every walk of life" as he seeks to quell criticism of his party's local election results.

The Labour leader is to confront the party's most prominent failure by returning to the campaign trail next week.

It comes after he was voted least popular party leader due to his 'lack of charisma' and lack of 'common touch.'

Tory peer's poll gives Labour a 'comfortable majority'

Lord Ashcroft, former deputy chairman of the Conservative party
Lord Ashcroft, former deputy chairman of the Conservative party Credit: James Edgar/PA Wire

A poll by former Conservative party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft has found Labour could win "a comfortable majority" in the 2015 general election.

Lord Ashcroft polled more than 26,000 voters in 26 marginal constituencies that will be hotly contested battlegrounds between Labour and the Tories.

He said: "Across the battleground I found a 6.5% swing from the Conservatives to Labour – enough to topple 83 Tory MPs and give Ed Miliband a comfortable majority. But this is a snapshot, not a prediction."

He added: "The research also found that most voters in these seats are optimistic about the economy, and only three in ten would rather see Mr Miliband as Prime Minister than David Cameron. Half of voters say they may change their mind before the election – and there is still a year to go."

George Osborne: I respect Nigel Farage

George Osborne has said he "respects" Ukip leader Nigel Farage and those who voted for his party at this week's local and European Parliament elections.

George Osborne urged the Tories to respond to the 'anger and anxiety' causing people to vote for Ukip. Credit: Wiktor Dabkowski/DPA/Press Association Images

Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, the Chancellor said: "I respect anyone who wants to put forward about ideas about how this country should be run, I respect participants in the political debate, including Nigel Farage."

Mr Osborne also urged his Conservative colleagues to listen and respond to the "anger and anxiety" that have led people to vote for Ukip.

Read: Ukip gains in local elections at expense of major parties

Poll: Six in ten Ukip Euro voters back party as protest

Six in ten people who voted Ukip in the European elections did so as a protest, according to polling from the influential Conservative, Lord Ashcroft.

Writing on the Conservative Home website, the peer said his survey of 4,000 voters found that 60% of Ukip voters had said they were voicing anger at the party they usually vote for or registering a more general protest.

However 80% of Ukip voters also said they thought Nigel Farage's party had the best policies on Europe.

The results of Thursday's European Parliament vote will be revealed tomorrow.

Read: Ukip gains in local elections at expense of major parties

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Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman re-elected

Lutfur Rahman has been re-elected for a second term as Mayor of the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

The closely-fought contest saw Rahman, formerly a member of the Labour Party but now under the banner of new party Tower Hamlets First, beat Labour's John Biggs by 37,395 votes to 34,143.

Lutfur Rahman
Labour removed Lutfur Rahman as a candidate for the 2010 mayoral elections, but he went on to win as an independent. Credit: PA

Rahman's campaign was marred by allegations that he had increased grants for certain charities in return for electoral support, which the Mayor strongly denied.

An police investigation into the allegations, ordered by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, found "no credible evidence of criminality".

Conservatives hold Barnet Council by one seat

Barnet Council remains Conservative-led after the party won exactly the number of seats required to hold a majority.

Having been neck and neck with Labour at 30 seats each out of 63, the Conservatives took two seats from the Lib Dems as the vote count in the London borough came to a close.

Labour supporters expressed their frustration at the near-miss:

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Labour have never won Barnet outright. Got close this year. Agonisingly close. I love you Barnet but you’re killing me here…

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