There was only one side cheering in Exeter on Thursday night and that was the party to the left. Labour swept to victory winning ten of the fourteen wards available. The city’s MP Ben Bradshaw praised his party’s campaign but thought voters had sent a message to the Coalition Government.
Labour’s optimism was high from the moment the first ballot boxes made their way within minutes of polls closing to the Corn Exchange in the city centre. As the votes were counted it quickly became clear this would be their night.
Labour won St Davids for the first time with a school teacher, who thought she was a candidate on paper, but took the victory. Lib Dem defector Rob Hanniford retained his ward having switched to Labour. Ten candidates in total wore victory smiles to give Labour twenty four councillors out of forty.
Lib Dem leader Adrian Fullam might have wanted something stronger as his party failed to win a seat on the night and will only have five councillors in the city council.
Conservatives ended the night with four ward victories, a total of eleven councillors but their leader kissed goodbye hope of retaining any power. UKIP increased its share of the vote.
So in this city where so many people are employed in the public sector the Coalition partners of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have suffered badly. Labour now has its own mandate to decide what should happen within Exeter.
Watch the full report from Seth Conway: