PM kicks Labour and UKIP right in the ballots

by Nick Laitner

Get used to these headlines. Conservatives winning seats everywhere. Labour collapsing all over the place, including some of its heartlands. The Lib Dems failing to cut through, and stacking up votes in the wrong places. And UKIP facing total wipeout as Theresa May well and truly eats their lunch.

That’s the story of yesterday’s local elections, and that is likely to be the story of 8 June. Prepare for years of Tory hegemony at a national and local level.

These results indicate that David Cameron’s decision to hold the EU referendum did indeed achieve one of its primary objectives – to destroy UKIP. It just didn’t happen in the manner that the former PM intended.

It appears that UKIP has served its purpose – and if this is to be their eulogy, it’s fair to say that they were a fantastically successful if short lived political phenomenon. But now we are on our way out of the EU, and now the Conservative Prime Minister is using the anti-Brussels and nativist rhetoric of Nigel Farage, their voters have flocked in droves to Theresa May. And given that many of these recent UKIP supporters were actually traditional ‘left behind’ Labour voters, that’s a double victory for the Conservatives. Theresa May’s decision to declare war on Brussels the night before the polls opened now feels like something approaching smart, if extraordinarily cynical, politics.

There were a couple of rays of light on a gloomy day for Labour. Andy Burnham has won in the race for the first Mayor of Greater Manchester, while Steve Rotheram was also victorious in Liverpool. If the Labour Party is going to rebuild itself as a serious national party, it looks increasingly likely that any resurgence will start from these municipal bases.