Local elections: 'Terrible night' for Tories sees Labour seize control of Plymouth City Council

Credit: BPM Media

Labour are celebrating after seizing control of Plymouth City Council in what one member of the government has called a 'terrible night' for the Conservative Party.

Thousands of voters across the South West took to the polls to choose their councillors as part of local elections on Thursday 4 May.

Some results have already been declared with ballots counted overnight, including in Plymouth where the result was announced this morning.

The Labour Party made six gains in Britain's Ocean City, establishing them a majority and placing them back in control - for the first time in five years.

The Conservatives had been running a minority administration but faced heavy criticism after the council cut down more than 100 healthy trees in the city centre as part of regeneration plans for Armada Way.

Reacting to the Tories being pushed out of power, Conservative MP Johnny Mercer described the night as "the worst I've experienced" and said the result was "terrible" for his party.

  • MP Johnny Mercer reacts to election results in Plymouth

The MP for Plymouth Moor View, who is also the Veterans Minister, said: "It's terrible - terrible for us. Terrible.

"We've lost some brilliant councillors who've worked for many years - decades - for the people of Plymouth. We've had a terrible night and it's the worst I've experienced in this role.

"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."

The vote means Cllr Tudor Evans will return as leader of Plymouth City Council, having previously held the role from 2012-2016 and 2018-21.

Speaking following Labour's win, Cllr Evans said: "We won 15 seats altogether, it's a tremendous performance, our best ever I think, and I'm just delighted to have been put into power with such confidence and support of the people of Plymouth."

Speaking about the recent minority administration, he added: "You have to remember that the Conservatives have created a carnival of chaos in Plymouth. Falling out with each other, leaving the Tory group, rejoining the Tory group, forming an independent, trying to be a Tory candidate and when they failed to be, forming another group of independents.

"The people of Plymouth deserve better than a circus and it's a circus that they have had, I'm afraid, for the past two years."

Luke Pollard, the Labour politician for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, has said Mercer is "toast" at the next general election.

"It has been a stunning night for Labour in Plymouth," he said.

“We won every single seat in our target parliamentary constituency of Plymouth Moor View, sending a signal that the Conservative MP there Johnny Mercer is toast at the next general election.

"We've had a carnival of chaos locally, with an incompetent Tory council. Their decision to chop down 100 trees in Plymouth, a perfect metaphor for a council out of touch with local people.

"But it wasn't just about the trees - it was a rejection of the Conservative Government."

While only a third of the seats in Plymouth City Council were up for grabs this election, this year's poll is being seen by many in Westminster as an indication of how well Labour and the Conservatives might perform if a general election is called in the next year or so.

Following the vote, Luke Pollard MP has Tweeted that results from around the region suggest that his party is "on track to make it a Labour Gain at the next General Election."