General election 2019: Brenda from Bristol and her soulmates in Milton Keynes might not be happy but there are more elections on the way
Brenda from Bristol, who famously exclaimed “You’re joking! Not another one”, when told of the impending general election in 2017, had better brace herself for 2020 because local elections are only five months away.
The dust had hardly settled from Thursday’s general election, when Conservatives Iain Stewart and Ben Everitt were elected for the two Milton Keynes seats, when minds started to turn to the local elections.
Cock-a-hoop Tories were bouncing into the early hours at the count venue at Saxon Court, after analysing the way people were voting.
Because ballot boxes come from distinct areas, party workers are able to take a straw poll of how their support is stacking up.
MK Tory leader Cllr Alex Walker, who successfully defended his Stantonbury ward last May, believes the blue party will be on the attack.
“We’ve done well in Wolverton and Bletchley,” said confident Cllr Walker. “We will be looking to take back control in May.”
In May if they take all 14 seats that they don’t currently hold, and cling on to the five they do, they would be on 33 seats. This would take them well past the 29 they need to take control of the borough council.
They currently make up the second largest party on the 59-seat MK Council, with 19 seats.
It is however a very big “if” because Labour was supported by more than 50,000 voters at the general election. And even though they are licking their wounds now, they won’t want to give any ground to their deadly rivals.
Downbeat Labour activists were also analysing their figures in the early hours of Friday and concluding that they were looking good in their target wards.
Labour currently has 23 councillors and will be defending nine in May.
The Lib Dems are also very much in the frame at the local elections, in a way they were not at the general. Both their candidates finished in distant third places.
Many of their workers had been campaigning in places like Cheltenham and St Albans. They took St Albans but failed in Gloucestershire.
But yellow party activists were around the count tables at Saxon Court with their clip boards, analysing polling samples with the same attention to detail as their rivals.
One councillor told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “When the general election fell on the same day as the locals, we finished behind the two other parties. But when it came to the local elections Robin Bradburn (one of their borough councillors) finished first.”
The Lib Dems currently hold 15 seats and the balance of power in Milton Keynes. Five of their seats will be contested in May and they will have ambitions to take some off other parties as they look towards taking control.
Other imponderables and the smaller parties are sure to come into play, too.
But one thing’s for sure: Brenda from Bristol and her soul mates in Milton Keynes had better gird their loins, because much more democracy is on its way!