With the key prizes of the West of England Combined Authority and Bristol Mayor positions under their belt, the last victory for Labour to secure was repeating their success in 2016 and reseizing an overall majority of elected members on the council. This hat-trick looked unlikely. Observers at the mayoral count saw clear signs that the Green Party were set for a strong showing in the council elections.
Labour lost about a third of their seats; the Greens doubled their number. When significant powers are invested in both mayors, does this matter? Unequivocally: ‘Yes’.
First, the Greens are now the main opposition party in Bristol. Momentum is behind them. Second, wherever Mayor Rees turns with his policy program, the Greens have greater councillor numbers to question and oppose.
For Labour, they have relied upon a broad coalition of voters in Bristol to deliver election success, such as students and blue-collar workers. The more radical, central urban element of that coalition drifted towards the Greens at these elections. Can Labour regain these lost voters and, if not, can they prevent a further Green surge (starting to emerge) in to Bristol’s Labour-leaning outskirts? The 1,000 days or so countdown to the next local election battle begins.
Download our full election result analysis above and read our analysis of the Bristol Mayoral election here.