Local elections 2023: Results in South West including Plymouth, Swindon, Devon and Bath

Labour politicians celebrating in Plymouth after gaining control of the city council Credit: Philip Churm, Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Thousands of people from across the South West have gone to the polls to vote for who they would like to serve on their local council.

The elections that will decide who controls 14 councils have been held in parts of Devon, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and across Somerset. Additionally, three councils have held elections to select only a third of their members this year.

Some of these ballots have already been counted, with votes being sorted throughout the night.

So far, headline results have seen Labour take control of Plymouth City Council from a Conservative minority administration, while the Liberal Democrats have held onto power in Bath and North East Somerset.

Votes for all other council elections will begin being counted on Friday 5 May, with results expected throughout the day.

Here are the latest results for the West Country, with updates to follow:


  • East Devon District Council (whole council)

Independent candidates won the most seats in Torridge, taking 19 of 60 available. The Liberal Democrats took 18 seats, followed by the Conservatives with 12, but no party has overall control.

  • Exeter City Council (third of council)

Labour has retained control of the Exeter City Council after a third of seats were up for grabs in this year's election.

For the second year running, Labour gained a second seat in the former Conservative stronghold of Topsham, but lost a seat in St Thomas to former Lib Dem council leader Adrian Fullam.

Labour still holds 25 seats, the same as before the election, although its tally is one down on the 2022 election result due to one of its councillors becoming independent.

The Greens have also had success in Exeter. They have won one new seat, which was previously occupied by an independent who didn't seek re-election. This has now boosted the party's standing to six members, making them the second largest party.

Andy Ketchin, the first ever Green councillor elected in the Newtown and St Leonard’s ward, said: “I am delighted to be joining our five other Green councillors on Exeter City Council. Together we will work tirelessly for a fairer, greener community for everyone."

  • Mid Devon District Council (whole council)

The Liberal Democrats have won control of Mid Devon, in a big boost to local Lib Dem MP and by-election winner Richard Foord.

From Devon to Dacorum and Stratford to Surrey, Lib Dems say they are winning big right across the country.

  • North Devon Council (whole council)

The Liberal Democrats have expanded their control of North Devon Council, now holding 23 of the 42 seats, having won one extra member.

The Greens also made a gain, moving from two to three seats, with the Conservatives losing one seat and dropping down to seven, while there are now nine Independents, down from 10.

  • Plymouth City Council (19 out of 57 seats)

Labour has taken control from the Conservatives in Plymouth, making six gains to establish a majority.

The Conservatives had been running a minority administration prior to the election, but faced heavy criticism following a decision to cut down 110 healthy trees in the city in March.

Conservative politician Johnny Mercer, the Veterans Minister and MP for Plymouth Moor View, said it has been a "terrible night" for his party.

"It's the worst I've experienced in this role," he told ITV News West Country. "But look, obviously there are factors at play, there are big local factors at play and we've got to take this on the chin and come back fighting."

Neighbouring Plymouth MP and Labour politician Luke Pollard said Mercer is "toast" at the next general election.

Pollard, the MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: "It has been a stunning night for Labour in Plymouth."

Reacting to his party's victory, the Labour leader in Plymouth, Tudor Evans, added: "We won 15 seats altogether, it's a tremendous performance, our best ever I think, and I'm just delighted to be put into power with such confidence and support of the people of Plymouth."

Evans has previously led the city council in 2012-2016, and 2018-2021.

  • South Hams District Council (whole council)

The Liberal Democrats have gained enough seats to take overall control of South Hams District Council.

  • Teignbridge (whole council)

The Liberal Democrats gained in Teignbridge and so now have overall control of the council. Before the election, no party had overall control.

  • Torbay (whole council)

The Conservative Party have won enough seats to gain a majority in Torbay.

  • Torridge (whole council)

Independent candidates won the most seats in Torridge, taking 16 of 36 available. The Liberal Democrats took eight seats, followed by the Conservatives with six, but no party has overall control.

  • West Devon (whole council)

The election results in West Devon mean no one party has overall control of the council. The Conservative Party previously had the majority.


  • Cotswold District Council (whole council)

The Liberal Democrats retained control of Cotswold, taking 18 seats of the first 28 to declare, matching the number they held before polling day, with another six still to be announced.

  • South Gloucestershire Council (whole council)

The Conservatives have lost control of the council in South Gloucestershire, with no party having a majority, meaning it now goes into no overall control.

The Tories previously had 33 seats, with 31 needed to form a majority government. The Conservatives now have 23 seats, while the Lib Dems have 20 and Labour 17. One independent has also been elected.

  • Forest of Dean District Council (whole council)

The votes have been counted but no party has won overall control.

  • Tewkesbury Borough Council (whole council)

The Conservative Party has lost its majority in Tewkesbury.

No single party has won a majority. However, the Liberal Democrats have made big gains in the area.


  • Bath and North East Somerset Council (whole council)

The Liberal Democrats have retained control of Bath & North East Somerset council after winning 31 of the 59 seats.

Wera Hobhouse, the Lib Dem MP for Bath, has said she is pleased at the 'overwhelming' success in the area.

She said: "I am very pleased that we have had our first result that went overwhelmingly to the Liberal Democrats - we held a ward that we have held for a long time.

"But of course my colleagues have been running the council for the last four years and that's always quite a difficult gig... Not only have they done well, but have also rolled out an agenda of change.

"So, what they have done is very, very good and I'm pleased that the people of Bath are coming behind the Liberal Democrats with what they have achieved in the last four years."

  • Liberal Democrat MP, Wera Hobhouse, reacts to the local election results

  • North Somerset Council (whole council)

The votes have been counted but no party has won overall control.


  • Swindon Borough Council

Labour now have overall control of Swindon Borough Council.

A third of seats were up for grabs in this year's local elections (9 out of 57) with Labour claiming victory over the Tories.

So far Labour has taken 15 seats, with the Conservatives holding two and Liberal Democrats taking one. At the time of writing, the result for the Mannington and Western ward had not been declared.

Voter turnout in Swindon was 37.21%, with 2,475 ballot papers counted.

What's the reaction from Westminster been like so far?

Conservative politicians in the region have been in expectation management mode throughout the local election campaign.

Conservatives: 'A tough night for the party'

Reacting to the first results, a Conservative party source told ITV West Country shortly before 6am that "it’s always disappointing to lose hardworking local Conservative councillors."

They added: "We expected it would be a tough night for the Party.

"There are still many more results to come with just 25 per cent of seats declaring overnight, there is a long way to go yet."

Labour: 'We are on course for a majority at the next general election'

Sir Keir Starmer said Labour is on course to win a majority at the next general election.

Speaking to supporters in Medway, where Labour gained the council from the Tories, Sir Keir said: “Make no mistake, we are on course for a Labour majority at the next general election.”

Liberal Democrats: 'More and more communities are voting for the Lib Dems'

Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey said it had been a “groundbreaking night” for his party.

He said: “We are exceeding all expectations. We have delivered a hammer blow to the Conservative Party in the blue wall ahead of next year’s general election.

“From Bath to Brentwood, more and more communities are choosing Liberal Democrats to be their local champions.

“The message from voters is clear: they are sick to the back teeth of Rishi Sunak and his out-of-touch Conservative Government."