Tories Manage to Hang on in Wandsworth

Labour gain seats but fall just short of taking control of Council

The votes are counted. Picture: Wandsworth Council

The Conservatives have managed to retain control of Wandsworth Council despite losing a number of seats in the local elections.

The Conservative Party have been in power since 1978 and in the 2014 local elections they won 41 seats to Labour's 19 but their majority has been substantially reduced. The final result sees the Conservatives with 33 seats, Labour with 26 and one independent.

At the close of polling at 10pm the early indications were that turnout had increased compared with 2014. Results elsewhere were giving the Conservatives encouragement and Putney MP Justine Greening talked about last year's General Election representing 'peak-Corbyn.' London Mayor Sadiq Khan who was a Councillor in the borough for many years seemed to backtrack on previous predictions of a Labour victory and talked in terms of gaining seats in the borough rather than gaining control. He said that Labour had canvassed and delivered leaflets in areas they had never done so before.

Labour hopes were raised early on as the first ward results were declared just before 3am. They managed to gain all three seats in the previously split wards in Queenstown Road and Bedford. In the case of Queenstown Road the swing to Labour was large enough for them to believe a shock victory might be on the cards. They also gained some encouragement from the news that a recount was taking place in St Mary's Park ward which was a key target.

However, these hopes were quickly dashed just after 3am when the result from the key Southfields ward was announced with the Conservatives hanging on to all three seats. Labour needed to take at least two of the seats in this ward to have any chance of winning the Council. It was around this time that Sadiq Khan chose to leave the counting suggesting that he had recognised the loss in Southfields was decisive.

It wasn't, however, a comfortable night for the Conservatives and any complacency that a win was guaranteed disappeared with the result from the West Hill ward which saw independent candidate Malcolm Grimston gain over 4,000 votes with the Labour party taking the two other seats in the ward.

Cllr Grimston tweeted, "Seriously humbled to get 4002 votes as an Independent - biggest vote of the night. I will try to live up to my Ward's hopes for me and will hold both Parties to account when they deserve it (and support them similarly)". The other two seats were won by Labour's Angela Ireland and Peter Carpenter.

Although at this time Labour was notionally ahead of the Conservatives with 23 seats to 21 the remaining wards to declare were all Tory held and unlikely to be won by Labour given the swing they had achieved. A number of recounts were being held but the Conservatives told reporters they were confident about the outcome.

As expected, the Conservatives lost seats elsewhere in London and the Lib Dems managed to gain control of Richmond on Thames. On the other hand Labour failed to take Westminster, another borough they had hoped to win.

Party of Councillors in Wandsworth Borough
Ward Result in 2014 Result in 2018
East Putney            
Roehampton and Putney Heath            
St Mary's Park            
Wandsworth Common            
West Hill            
West Putney            
Blue = Conservative. Red = Labour. White = Independent



May 4, 2018