Lembit Opik is leading the charge. The former Lib Dem MP for Montgomeryshire is the first one to break ranks in the wake of another terrible set of local election results for the Lib Dems and call for Nick Clegg’s head. He told BBC Radio 5 Live:
The problem is Nick Clegg: there is a poll today which suggests that 19 per cent of the people like the Lib Dems without Clegg; 12 per cent like Clegg without the Lib Dems.
My empirical view is that we would have done better with a different leader.
I don’t dislike Clegg as a person but I think you can actually point at specific mistakes he has made.
Except there is no charge. Lembit is the only one saying anything remotely like this. And his stock has fallen so low that party strategists think his intervention is actually helpful for the Lib Dem leader. Read more
Welcome to our live blog on the local elections
Through the day, we’ll be providing results from the local elections held yesterday in England, Scotland and Wales, with additional comment from the FT’s political reporting and commentary team as well as pulling in analysis and illumination from wherever we find it on the web.
The results are still coming in, but with the national pattern now becoming clear we’re going to put this blog on pause, at least until we get some sense of what is going to happen in the contest for London mayor. Here are the 11am headlines:
- Labour has done very well across England, winning an estimated 39 per cent share of the vote, compared to 31 for the Tories and 16 for the Lib Dems.
- So far, Labour has won 22 new councils and 470 new councillors. The councils are spread across England, including Carlisle, Birmingham and Southampton.
- Nick Clegg and William Hague have both re-pledged their commitment to the coalition, amid sniping from the Tory benches that the party needs to move to the right.
- Four cities – Manchester, Nottingham, Bradford and Coventry have all voted no to a directly elected mayor. Birmingham is predicted to go the same way.
- Boris Johnson is pulling ahead in early counting for London mayor. Brian Paddick, the Lib Dem, is being pushed for third place by Jenny Jones, the green, and Siobhan Benita, the independent.