Turnout is projected to be around 36%, and the share of the vote is leading commentators to suggest that it’s a UKIP earthquake. The last figures I saw suggested that Labour had around 27%, UKIP 25% and the Consevratives on 23%.
We live in a First Past The Post democracy and share of the vote is nothing if you don’t win seats.
While UKIP have made some gains, at the time of writing they only have 90 councillors across the country in the seats declared last night. It’s a gain of 89,. Mostly at the expense of the Lib Dems and the Tories, but to put that into perspective, Labour have done much better: gaining 104 seats to have a tally of 632.
Ed Miliband’s party have also gained control of three councils, while the Conservatives have lost control of seven and the Lib Dems have lost control of two. The national share of the Lib Dem vote is equally interesting. Back in 2005, they captured 22% of the vote. In 2010, it had increased to 23% – but due to First Past The Post, they lost five seats. In last year’s council elections, the Lib Dems support had slumped to 14%.
Indications from early results yesterday suggest that it has slumped even further this time round.
However, in Reading we can compare to 2012 elections: the Lib Dem support was just 10% – they slipped under the Green’s tally of 11%.
So based on the results from other councils in so far, and on the 2012 elections, can we predict what will happen in Reading?
The wild card in the town is UKIP’s vote – in 2012, it polled just 0.6% of the borough’s votes. A total of 220 voted for them, but they stood only in Tilehurst.
This time round, they are standing in nine wards.
So, ward by ward, here are my predictions.
Abbey ward is a Labour stronghold. In 2012, Tony Page received just over 58% of the vote. It is more than likely that Bet Tickner will hold on to her seat this time round. The Greens beat the Lib Dems to third place this time round. If their vote holds up and UKIP take votes from the Tories and Lib Dems, it’s possible that the Greens could come a distant second with UKIP breathing up the rear.
For more graphs and results from all wards, check out our interactive guide
Another Labour stronghold – in 2012, Gul Khan received 54% of the vote to storm home. Sarah Hacker is likely to do the same. Again, the Green vote saw them beat the Lib Dems, this could happen again. The Roman Party.AVE is standing here, hoping to beat their 42 votes from last time. With no UKIP candidate, the Conservatives are still a shoo-in for second place.
This is the nearest we get to a marginal seat. Last time round, it was Labour that came top, in 2011 it was Conservative and in 2010, Andrew Cumpsty comfortably won the seat for the Tories. But for their 2012 win, Labour worked hard in this ward and won with 49% share of the vote. UKIP is standing here and they can hold the balance of power: I predict Labour will neck it.
Another comfortable Labour seat, with just over half of people voting red in the last election. This is another seat where the Green vote overtook the Lib Dem vote last time round and it’s probable that this will happen again. UKIP may steal votes from the main three parties but not enough to stop another Labour win.
The Lib Dems came second to Labour back in 2012: but they were a distant second and only just beating the Tories by 20 votes. As a Labour stronghold last time, this is now a four-way tussle as UKIP are also in the fray this time round and Greens will be looking to boost their share of the vote from 10%. Anything could happen here, not least as this is a seat that the Lib Dems are defending from 2010.
A Conversative seat being defended, Labour came top of the pile in 2012 – but it’s a maginal one and the UKIP vote could see anything happen. Howard Thomas is arguably the most well-known local UKIP supporter and could steal votes. Again, in 2012, the Greens came a distant third – but the Lib Dems were beaten into fifth place with a shocking 5.4% share of the vote. With all this in mind, I think Labour will neck this seat, but it really is too close to call.
This is a new ward and there is no election here this year.
In 2012, Labour received 59% of the vote – head and shoulders above the Conservatives. So this should be a safe Labour seat. The Lib Dems polled just two votes more than the Greens, so the battle for third is more interesting here.
There are two elections in Park – a normal one for Green leader Rob White and a by-election. In the last election almost 9 in 10 people voted either Green or Labour and I can’t see that changing this time round. The Greens have won the poster battle round the streets, but Labour have been campaigning hard. The wild card is the Conservative vote: they have fielded two strong candidates with impeccable local connections. I live in Park and have not seen any UKIP presence, despite them fielding a candidate. Given Park’s left-bias, I can’t see them affecting the results and I predict two Green wins.
This is the ward with a really strong Independent candidate in the form of Mark Ralph. He could romp home, but again he could lose out to the Conservatives. Or the UKIP vote could really dent the Conversatives and see Mark win. Either way, no one else really has a chance here.
In 2012, Labour won this seat from the Lib Deams, polling 51.8% of the vote. The Lib Dem vote collapsed. In 2010, when Daisy Benson won the seat for the Lib Dems, she received 44% of the vote, last year the party polled just 21.3% – the share had halved in just three years. I can’t see that changing this time round, despite a valiant campaign from Kirsten Bayes. Labour will win this seat and, if the national share of the vote applies here, it could be the Tories or the Greens that come second, leaving the Lib Dems struggling for fourth. UKIP is standing here too.
A strong Labour ward, last year Debs Edwards polled 65% of the vote with the Conversatives a distance second with 22.8%. The Lib Dems were a distant third with just 6.7% of the vote. With no UKIP candidate standing here, the only question will whether the Greens will overtake the Lib Dems for third place: another 30 votes would do it.
Independent John Dickson will be looking on improving his share of the vote from last year: he came third with 11.4%, ahead of the Greens by 11 votes and the Lib Dems who received the wooden spoon. With Richard Stainthorp standing for Labour, it’s possible that they may steal votes from the Conservatives, but as they do well here, I can see this staying as a Tory stronghold.
Tilehurst has been a Lib Dem stronghold for a long time. Back in 2010, Ricky Duveen polled 40% of the vote, comfortably winning it. In 2012, their share of the vote was 38.6% – although the number of votes cast had shrunk (2010 was a General Election too) the core vote held up to ensure another win.
But with the Lib Dem vote collapsing and UKIP mounting a challenge here, is it possible that the Conservatives could steal the seat? It depends. In 2013, William MacPhee polled 9.4% of the vote – quite impressive for a first time out. If UKIP steal a lot of votes from Lib Dems and the Tories, then it could let Labour come up from third place. If William’s share of the vote is in line with the national share then this could be a victory for UKIP. It’s unlikely though – I predict a Lib Dem hold, their only one in this election.
A strong Labour seat, it is unlikely to change. Last time round, Indpeden candidate Jamie Wake beat the Greens and Lib Dems to come fourth – the now defunct Common Sense Party came third. The Greens even beat the Lib Dems. That’s nothing to write home about though: the Green vote was 68, the Lib Dem vote was 57.
There is no UKIP candidate here, but I can’t see the Conservatives winning – so a Labour hold for Rachel Eden.
What will it mean for the share of the votes? Well, Reading Borough Council will have a comfortable Labour win, gaining seats.
I can’t see UKIP doing as well here: the wildcard is the Green party. While most of their share of the vote will come from Park Ward, they were the third party in 2012, and it’s possible that this will happen again this time. However, UKIP’s share of the vote will come at the expense of the Conservatives, the Lib Dems and Labour (in that order).
So, based on 2010, I predict the share of the vote to be:
Lib Dems 7%
Find your ward and check out the results and graphs here
Although Xn covers a range of towns in the Thames Valley, we’re focusing on Reading for this election.