Five things we learned from the local elections

There were no outright winners local elections. Credit: PA

Brexit negotiations, the Grenfell fire, four cabinet resignations, cries of anti-Semitism and the forced removal of Windrush migrants - politics has moved fast in the last year, but the local election results suggest voters have largely stood still.

Local elections are just that - local.

You can add them up to get a national picture, but it's all a bit blurry.

Each council has its own dynamics, from which we can only cautiously work out what might be going on across the country.

But what is clear is that the results don't actually change a massive amount, and from that, I think we can draw several conclusions:

  • The Labour surge still hasn't broken through the dam

This wasn't the flood of red that some in the party had been hoping for as an indication that the momentum it gained during the General Election is continuing to build.

The London results were disappointing - no takeover of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea or Wandsworth, while Barnet (where I found the large Jewish population bitterly concerned about anti-Semitism in the party on Wednesday) fell to a Tory majority.

Outside London, the party did gain control of Plymouth and Kirklees, but it lost others like Nuneaton and Derby.

Not the night it needed, even if it seems to have equalled the Tories in terms of the percentage of votes.

Overall, the Conservatives lost fairly little. Credit: PA
  • The Conservatives clung on

Eight years into austerity - which has hammered council budgets - the Conservatives have clung on.

They did suffer a big and symbolic defeat in Trafford, where Labour knocked their flagship northern council into no overall control, but otherwise, they took few major body blows.

In fact, as in the General Election, they outperformed Labour in Leave areas like Dudley, Thurrock and Basildon, as Brexit continues to polarise voters two years on from the referendum.

Ukip haemorrhaged seats at the local election. Credit: PA
  • Ukip losses helped the Tories

The Conservatives' gains were often thanks to Ukip's losses.

Ukip continues to career off a cliff edge, losing almost every seat it held in these elections, though it did gain one in Derby - that of the local Labour leader.

As well as the Tories, the Lib Dems also benefited from the effects of Brexit. Credit: PA
  • Brexit is aiding a Lib Dem revival

While Brexit has suffocated Ukip, it seems to have significantly revived the Lib Dems.

They will be very pleased to have gained four councils, including Richmond and Kingston, while also re-establishing themselves on northern councils like Hull, Liverpool and Sheffield, where they haven't had a significant presence since their punishment during the coalition years.

In the end, no party triumphed. Credit: PA
  • There were no outright winners

So what does that all add up to?

At a push, it may suggest voters are stuck in a time warp.

The national picture looks remarkably similar to the General Election - inconclusive.

The results are neither a ringing endorsement of Labour nor the Conservatives and more like a score draw.

Some may argue that Corbynism has peaked, others than the Tories continue their dangerous northern decline.

But on the basis of these elections, neither is heading for a stonking majority in Westminster, which continues to prove elusive in our age.