Local elections: Recap as results declared at Portsmouth and Havant counts

The country – or at least most of it – has gone to the polls today.
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Several areas have chosen to hold their counts on Friday but many, including Portsmouth and Havant, have plumped for the traditional ‘start at 10pm and finish in the early hours routine’.

Here is all the action from the counts as it happened, with the final result coming in not long before 3am, plus a full results list from each area and reaction and analysis.

No polls in Fareham and Gosport this year – they are on the fourth, fallow year of the election cycle which sees ballots held in three out of every four years.

LIVE: Portsmouth and Hampshire local elections 2023

Key Events

  • Voters went to the polls today in many but not all areas of the country
  • Portsmouth and Havant results are now in
  • Eastleigh is also counting overnight; Winchester, East Hampshire and Southampton count tomorrow
  • No elections in Fareham and Gosport this year

They’re off in Portsmouth

Them lot down the road will be counting tomorrow

Meanwhile, we who are chained to the computer have this view

Photo ID controversy

It’s been derided as an anti-democratic and unnecessary introduction to voting, and here’s an early bit of news about the Photo ID requirement.

The Press Association is reporting: ‘New photographic ID requirements have “regrettably” left some voters unable to cast their ballots. The Electoral Commission said that overall the elections were “well run” but the requirement to carry photo ID posed a challenge and some people were unable to vote as a result, although detailed work will be needed to understand the scale of the problem.;

The national picture

More from PA: ‘Polls in England have closed with Rishi Sunak’s Tories braced for a tough night. The Prime Minister has already conceded it will be a “hard night” for the Tories but insisted they were moving away from “box set drama” politics after the scandal-prone tenure of Boris Johnson and the chaotic collapse of the Liz Truss administration.

A Tory spokesman said: “This will be a tough night for the Conservatives. Any Government which has been in power for 13 years is highly likely to lose seats.”

The Conservatives have sought to manage expectations by pointing to forecasts by academic experts Professors Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher which suggest they could lose more than a thousand seats if things go badly. The Tories will seek to portray any defeat below that scale as better than expected – although the loss of hundreds of councillors would not bode well for Mr Sunak’s hopes in the general election expected in 2024.

The Tory spokesman said: ‘If Labour want to be in with a chance of taking office after the next general election as they did in 1997, they need to be making very significant gains as they did in 1995 – the last most comparable election – anything less than that will pose serious questions for Labour HQ.’

The analysis by professors Rallings and Thrasher suggested gains of more than 700 for Labour would represent Sir Keir Starmer’s party’s best performance for at least a decade, which could put them on the path to becoming the largest party at a general election – even if short of an overall majority in the Commons. But 250 gains or fewer would be disappointing, while under 150 extra councillors would be “effectively a step backwards”, the academics said.

What the national picture means locally

In Portsmouth, the anticipated national Tory collapse means the Lib Dems will be hoping to take overall control of the council, which has not had an overall majority (for any party) for several years. However, this hope may be stymied by the rise of the Portsmouth Independents Party which has been increasing its influence at each recent election.

In Havant, the truest blue of true blue authorities (currently 33 Conservative councillors, two Labour and one Independent with two vacant seats) it will be interesting to see how many seats are lost - or whether it can buck the trend.

The slow but sure job

The count at Havant Borough Council Picture: Sarah StandingThe count at Havant Borough Council Picture: Sarah Standing
The count at Havant Borough Council Picture: Sarah Standing

Portsmouth City Council’s make-up in a nice colourful diagram

Looking like a low-turnout year

Here’s the first take from our man in Portsmouth