Thousands awoke across Southwark this morning to the news Labour held on to control of the council – and blue was wiped off the electoral map for the first time in history.
Southwark Labour group leader Peter John was jubilant in his victory speech in the early hours of today after the final results were announced.
It wasn’t the Labour whitewash that some thought it might be – and for the first time in history there are no Conservative councillors in Southwark.
Though there is one ward still to be contested, this is not a Tory stronghold.
The provisional turnout was 33.8 per cent for the 22 out of 23 wards counted, with Labour winning 49 seats, while the opposition Liberal Democrats did better than the experts predicted, holding on to eleven seats. In the 2014 election they won thirteen seats.
It is still too soon to say how the parties performed overall as there are still three seats up for grabs in London Bridge & West Bermondsey ward.
An election will be held in that ward on June 14 after Conservative candidate Toby Eckersley sadly died unexpectedly.
A minute’s silence was observed for the former Dulwich Village politician during the count last week, after tributes flooded in for the “quintessential Englishman” earlier in the week.
Elsewhere in the country, Labour took back control of the council from the Tories in Plymouth and also seized Trafford council, which was the Conservatives’ only council in Greater Manchester.
SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL WARD-BY-WARD LIST OF ELECTED COUNCILLORS
In London, the Conservatives won Barnet council from no overall control, while the Lib Dems gained control of Richmond upon Thames.
In his victory speech after the final results were declared, Southwark Labour leader Peter John told the packed auditorium at the council’s Tooley Street headquarters: “For the first time in history, Southwark is a Tory-free zone and the people of Southwark have rejected Theresa May’s government and all that she stands for.
“After eight years Labour has retained control of Southwark Council; we have one more seat than we did in 2014, we have eliminated the Tories, and reduced the Lib Dems.”
The re-elected Champion Hill councillor said he was “confident” that Labour would take the last three remaining seats in London Bridge & West Bermondsey next month.
“They have chosen a council that’s on the side of hard-working families and not a government that is only interested in a hard Brexit,” he said.
“We know there’s so much more we need to do to win the trust and confidence of our public and we will do that over the next four years.”
Speaking to the News, he added: “There have always been Conservatives in Southwark even if you go back to when the council was formed in 1965 and at one point there were quite a lot of Conservatives in Southwark. That says a lot about where they are as a party.
“I think it [Brexit] is a big contributing factor and Dulwich Village people were saying to us on the doorstep they were really uncomfortable with where the government was with Brexit so it’s not surprising in some ways.
“All of the predictions were that we could take even more seats but I was always more sceptical but we still ended up with more than we had in 2014 and it’s the best result since 1982 and we still have three seats left to go.”
The Lib Dems believe they have a real chance of increasing their overall numbers once the London Bridge & West Bermondsey seat is contested in June, and that they have “defied all expectations” and “strengthened” their position.
“There were many other seats where we came close to winning, and in London Bridge and West Bermondsey we have a real chance to make even further gains,” said Southwark Liberal Democrat group leader councillor Anood Al-Samerai.
“Labour’s central aim in this campaign was to make Southwark a Lib Dem-free zone. In that, they have clearly failed.”
The Green party had candidates standing in every ward in Southwark, and in St Giles ward, their lead candidate Eleanor Margolies achieved 31 per cent of the vote with 1,420 votes – a 13.8 per cent swing to the Greens since the 2014 election.
Ms Margolies, co-chair of Southwark Green party, said: “I am immensely grateful to the people who took the time to talk to me on the doorstep about their concerns and hopes, and to everyone who voted for me.
“We will continue to work with the amazing community activists in Southwark who protect trees and green spaces, defend small businesses and council housing, and scrutinise the actions of the council.”
Rosie Beattie, chair of Southwark UKIP group, said the election result was “disappointing nationally, but came as no surprise” and that “there is still a need for UKIP”.
The News spoke to Southwark Conservative leader Michael Mitchell, who declined to comment.
Your new ward councillors…
Dan Whitehead (Lib Dem) 1,475
Nicola Salmon (Lib Dem) 1,358
Nick Johnson (Lib Dem) 1,294
Maria Linforth-Hall (Lib Dem) 884
Graham Neale (Lib Dem) 839
Lorraine Lauder (Labour) 1,747
Paul Fleming (Labour) 1,726
Jack Buck (Labour) 1,679
Stephanie Cryan (Labour and Co-Operative) 1,726
Kath Whittam (Labour and Co-Operative) 1,558
Bill Williams (Labour and Co-Operative) 1,504
Dora Dixon-Fyle (Labour and Co-Operative) 2,234
Tom Flynn (Labour and Co-Operative) 2,082
Kieron Williams (Labour and Co-Operative) 2,043
Helen Dennis (Labour and Co-Operative) 1,713
Karl Eastham (Labour and Co-Operative) 1,547
Sirajul Islam (Labour and Co-Operative) 1,463
Victoria Mills (Labour) 1,891
Renata Hamvas (Labour) 1,872
Catherine Rose (Labour) 1,802
Andy Simmons (Labour) 1,782
Sarah King (Labour) 1,519
Peter John (Labour – council leader) 1,368
Radha Burgess (Labour) 2,508
Ian Wingfield (Labour) 2,141
Jason Ochere (Labour) 2,118
Borough & Bankside:
Adele Morris (Lib Dem) 1,258
David Noakes (Lib Dem) 1,257
Victor Chamberlain (Lib Dem) 1,197
Eleanor Kerslake (Labour) 2,137
James Coldwell (Labour) 2,082
Alice Macdonald (Labour) 1,997
Rebecca Lury (Labour) 1,726
Martin Seaton (Labour) 1,552
Darren Merrill (Labour) 1,512
Anood Al-Samerai (leader Southwark Lib Dems) 1,744
Eliza Mann (Lib Dem) 1,570
Hamish McCallum (Lib Dem) 1,550
Nunhead & Queen’s Road:
Sunil Chopra (Labour) 2,305
Gavin Edwards (Labour) 2,276
Sandra Rhule (Labour) 2,221
Old Kent Road:
Evelyn Akoto (Labour) 2,303
Richard Livingstone (Labour) 2,228
Michael Situ (Labour) 2,113
Margy Newens (Labour and Co-Operative) 1,755
Richard Leeming (Labour and Co-Operative) 1,580
Barrie Hargrove (Labour) 2,215
Johnson Situ (Labour) 2,143
Cleo Sloanes (Labour) 2,112
Maggie Browning (Labour) 1,823
Jon Hartley (Labour) 1,618
Sunny Lambe (Labour) 1,787
Leanne Werner (Labour) 1,754
Leo Pollak (Labour) 1,701
Jasmine Ali (Labour) 2,543
Peter Babudu (Labour) 2,287
Nick Dolezal (Labour) 2,060
Victoria Olisa (Labour) 2,372
James McAsh (Labour) 2,042
Charlie Smith (Labour) 2,039