Update 3am Monday: Tower Hamlets election suspended until Tuesday. Current counts have Labour and Tower Hamlets First at 18 seats each with the Conservatives at 4. Bromley South has not declared. We will update our election coverage on Tuesday.
Croydon results were the first big change as Labour took over from the Conservatives after eight years in opposition. But it was Tower Hamlets that provided a nail biting finish as the mayoral election went to second preferences.
Mayor Lutfur Rahman hung on to his majority in spite of a turnout twice the size of 2010, but this time he could be running the town hall with a majority of his own councillors as the newly formed Tower Hamlets First party cut a swathe through Labour’s seats. Listen to the soundcloud as he gives a speech after his election.
Lutfurites looking very confident waiting for the result in Tower Hamlets pic.twitter.com/Y3a2mt5bib
— Robin de Peyer (@robindepeyer) May 24, 2014
There have been changes in Lewisham too. Here the mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, was re-elected and Labour practically swept the board taking every seat but one. Lewisham has consistently been a Labour stronghold since 1968. All twelve Liberal Democrat councillors and two Conservative councillors defeated. Lewisham is now all red with just a fleck of Green in the person of John Coughlin in Brockley who held the seat previously occupied by Darren Johnston.
Only in Hackney did everything remain almost the same. There were ripples at the edges where new ward boundaries changed the arithmetic and Rosemary Sales won a surprise Labour victory in the formally Tory stronghold of Stamford Hill, but overall the parties held on pretty much as before. Jules Pipe will begin his 13th year as mayor, re-elected with 59% of first preference votes, on a turn-out of 39%.
In Croydon the Tories blamed their defeat on UKIP and they may have a point. The figures demonstrate that although UKIP came nowhere near winning any seats they do seem to have halved the Conservative vote in a number of areas.