Conservative Diary

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Headline observations

I'm keeping the live blog going with unfolding news but I'm going to post headline observations here:

Number 3: Although the Tory share of the vote is a disappointing 37% (and entirely explained by UKIP, Greens, BNP) the Tory targets (Devon, Somerset, Staffordshire, Lancashire) are all coming through.  That's more evidence that the party's campaign machine is strong.

Number 2: Eric Pickles has a rule of thumb that a party loses two activists for every councillor it loses.  Today will see another big depletion in the Labour activist base.  It doesn't show up in the headline numbers but Labour is falling to third and fourth places in many parts of the UK.  That means they don't have much of an infrastructure for the General Election and it's going to take more than one heave for them to come back in a whole range of seats.

Number 1: We know it's a bad set of results for Labour but it's also a bad set of results for the Liberal Democrats. NOTHING is giving the Tories more joy here than the victories over Nick Clegg's party in Devon and Somerset. The gains in these two counties suggest that we're not just facing Labour unpopularity but many positive votes for the Conservatives.  These results are going to force Liberal Democrats on to the defensive - retreating into their existing seats.


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