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Government / Local politics

Not much to see here: Dave’s guide to local election results in the Liverpool City Region

Last Thursday’s English local elections saw new councillors elected to the six constituent council areas of the Liverpool City Region. Only one third of the council seats were contested this year: under the ‘thirds’ system, elections are held in three years out of four, each covering a third of the seats.

In order of size – that is, number of wards – the six councils are Liverpool City Council, Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC), Wirral MBC, Halton Borough Council, St Helens MBC and Knowsley MBC. The region has 126 wards in total, most with three councillors each.

So what went down? Here’s my guide. The information provided here was taken directly from the six official council websites, including the party names which are as defined thereon.

Before the elections

On 28 April 2018, there were a total of 364 councillors across Liverpool City Region, split politically as follows:

  • Labour Party – 288 (inc. five listed as Labour & Co-operative Party)
  • Liberal Democrats – 33
  • Liberal Party – 2
  • Conservative Party – 30
  • Green Party – 5
  • Independents Group – 4
  • Independent – 2

To summarise, of the total number of councillors of 364 within Liverpool City Region, 288 were Labour.

This all breaks down by individual council area as follows.

Liverpool – 88 councillors, in 30 wards

  • Labour Party – 77
  • Green Party – 4
  • Liberal Democrat – 4
  • Liberal Party – 2
  • Independent – 1

Labour majority – 66

Sefton – 64 councillors, in 22 wards

  • Labour Party – 38
  • Liberal Democrats – 16
  • Conservative Party – 5
  • Independents Group – 4
  • Independent – 1

Labour majority – 12

Wirral – 64 councillors, in 22 wards

  • Labour – 38
  • Conservative – 20
  • Liberal Democrats – 5
  • Green Party – 1

Labour majority – 12

Halton – 55 councillors, in 21 wards

  • Labour – 51
  • Liberal Democrat – 2
  • Conservative – 2

Labour majority – 47

St Helens – 48 councillors, in 16 wards

  • Labour Party – 42 (inc. three listed as Labour & Co-operative Party)
  • Liberal Democrat Party – 3
  • Conservative Party – 3

Labour majority – 36

Knowsley – 45 councillors, in 15 wards

  • Labour Party – 42 (inc. two listed as Labour & Co-operative Party)
  • Liberal Democrats – 3

Labour majority – 39

After the elections

On 4 May 2018, there were a total of 371 councillors across Liverpool City Region, split politically as followsL

  • Labour Party – 291 (inc. five listed as Labour & Co-operative Party)
  • Liberal Democrats – 32
  • Liberal Party – 2
  • Conservative Party – 34
  • Green Party – 6
  • Independents Group – 3
  • Independent – 3

(Note that there are sometimes more councillors than previously, because vacant seats have been filled.)

To summarise, of the total number of councillors of 371 within Liverpool City Region, 291 are now Labour. The party has gained three, the Conservatives four, the Greens one and the LibDems have lost 1.

This all breaks down by individual council area as follows:

Liverpool – 90 councillors, in 30 wards

  • Labour Party – 76
  • Liberal Democrat – 7
  • Green Party – 4
  • Liberal Party – 2
  • Independent – 1

Lib Dem +3; Labour -1

Labour majority – 62

Sefton – 66 councillors, in 22 wards

  • Labour Party – 43
  • Liberal Democrats – 12
  • Conservative Party – 8
  • Independents Group – 3

Labour +5, Conservative +3, LibDem -4, Independent -2

Labour majority – 20

Wirral – 66 councillors, in 22 wards

  • Labour – 39
  • Conservative – 21
  • Liberal Democrats – 5
  • Green Party – 1

Labour +1, Conservative +1

Labour majority – 12

Halton – 56 councillors in, 21 wards

  • Labour – 52
  • Liberal Democrat – 2
  • Conservative – 2

Labour +1

Labour majority – 48

St Helens – 48 councillors, in 16 wards

  • Labour Party – 41 (inc. three listed as Labour & Co-operative Party)
  • Liberal Democrat Party – 3
  • Conservative Party – 3
  • Independent – 1

Independent +1, Labour -1

Labour majority – 34

Knowsley – 45 councillors, in 15 wards

  • Labour Party – 40 (inc. two listed as Labour & Co-operative Party)
  • Liberal Democrats – 3
  • Green – 1
  • Independent – 1

Green +1, Independent +1, Labour -2

Labour majority – 35

There are no major changes here: Labour still dominates the Liverpool City Region. Its hold is strongest on Liverpool, and weakest on the Wirral.

But this exercise does illustrate the long term destruction wreaked upon the Liberal Democrats by the actions of Sir Nick Clegg, with his support for austerity measures introduced under the Conservative/LibDem coalition government formed in 2010. Liverpool City Council was run under majority LibDem control of the Liberal Democrats for over a decade up until the 2010 elections. In 2004, the party won 60 of the 90 seats.


Since then, though, its local support has been decimated, taking it from the 38 seats that it held immediately after their unsuccessful 2010 local election campaign to the 7 that it now holds. Its vote share locally doesn’t look like recovering significantly enough to challenge for power any time soon, if ever. This has created a democratic deficit where I live.

One last thing. If Liverpool City Region were a single local authority area, it would be on a physical scale similar to the existing City of Leeds local authority area, as previously discussed last September. Such an entity would be one of the most significant local authority area in the UK – and would receive commensurate national and global attention and inward investment. 

Dave Mail is CityMetric’s Liverpool City Region correspondent. He will be updating us on the brave new world of Liverpool City Region, mostly monthly, in ‘E-mail from Liverpool City Region’ and he is on twitter @davemail2017.
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