Early results from ‘Super Thursday’ elections

This week saw the largest set of local and regional elections in the UK since the reorganisation of local government almost half a century ago.

Most counts will take place during Friday or Saturday, but a few were counted overnight.

As H&D has previously explained, the 2021 elections mark the end of the Nigel Farage era: his old party UKIP is now almost extinct, and the Brexit Party which he launched in 2019 has been rebranded (ineffectively) as Reform UK.

Racial nationalist parties are still in the process of reviving and reorganising themselves after a decade in Brexit’s shadow, but we expect a handful of strong results for several nationalist/populist candidates.

H&D editor Mark Cotterill is contesting Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council seats: when not involved in counts we shall be reporting here on these and other results.

Labour’s Sean Fielding – leader of Oldham Council – has lost his seat to a local independent

Overnight the biggest breaking news was the defeat of Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding (Labour), who lost his seat to former police officer Mark Wilkinson, leader of the Failsworth Independent Party. Perhaps even more sensational for those of our readers who remember the glory days of Oldham BNP was that young Conservative candidate Beth Sharp defeated Labour in St James ward. In the old days this was the top BNP target and a no hope area for the Tories.

Ms Sharp’s victory is an early sign of what will surely be the main narrative of this week’s elections: the continuing success of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in areas that were once solidly Labour. This fragmentation could in the long-term be good news for nationalist parties, if we can get our act together.

An extraordinary civil war within Oldham’s Asian community saw Asian Labour candidates lose one Asian ghetto (St Mary’s) and almost lose another (Coldhurst) to Asian independents, while losing the racially split Medlock Vale ward to an Asian Conservative! (This is partly a consequence of local Labour bosses choosing to defy Muslim elders in a row over an Asian feminist councillor.)

In Oldham, UKIP and Reform UK did at least manage to avoid standing against each other, but nevertheless obtained appalling results with all four of their respective candidates finishing bottom of the poll: their votes ranged from 0.8% to 3.8%.

John Evans – re-elected as Reform UK councillor for Alvaston ward, Derby

Elsewhere early results mostly confirmed that Reform UK (the rebranded Brexit Party) will fizzle out within months of its launch. Overnight there were just two Reform UK victories, both in Derby, with Tim Prosser elected in a freak result for Boulton ward, after the Conservative candidate withdrew to give him a free run against Labour; and John Evans retaining the Alvaston ward seat that he first won for UKIP in 2016 before his move first to the Brexit Party and now to Reform UK. The party’s other Derby candidates were heavily defeated.

Most other Reform UK results were very poor indeed: notably in the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election. This had been the Brexit Party’s main target seat only seventeen months ago at the 2019 General Election, where their candidate was Richard Tice, now leader of the rebranded party.

Yet Reform UK polled only 1.2% yesterday, down from Tice’s 25.8% in 2019. Almost all of those pro-Brexit voters swung behind the Conservatives, whose candidate won a historic victory. Most humiliating for Reform UK was that Claire Martin, candidate of the tiny UKIP splinter Heritage Party, polled 468 votes (1.6%) to push Reform UK into fifth place.

Those in our movement who believed that anti-lockdown or Covid-sceptic politics would prove an effective electoral strategy will be sobered by the mere 72 votes (0.2%) won by the Freedom Alliance candidate who finished bottom of a sixteen-strong field in Hartlepool.

In the old UKIP stronghold of Thurrock, two Reform UK candidates finished bottom of the poll, and their rival ex-colleagues from the old UKIP, now standing as Thurrock Independents, lost all the seats they were defending.

Sunderland is one of the few UKIP branches that has remained largely intact with few activists defecting to Farage’s Brexit/Reform, and UKIP managed a substantial local slate of 19 candidates. However they were all heavily defeated: their best result was 18.4% in Redhill ward, which they had won in 2019. The two other Sunderland wards that UKIP won in 2019 were Tory gains from Labour this year, in one case electing an Asian Tory councillor, with UKIP polling 8.1% and 8.8%.

We expect the For Britain Movement (an anti-Islamist party whose leader Anne-Marie Waters is ‘anti-racist’ but whose candidates include high-profile BNP veterans) to poll very well in some areas. However the party’s overnight results were poor, including heavy defeats in two eastern Newcastle wards – 3.5% in Walker and 1.7% in Walkergate.

Three members of the same family contesting Southend wards as For Britain candidates polled 4%, 2.3% and 2.1% respectively.

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