How Labour performed in May 2021 elections across England, Wales, Scotland

Elliot Chappell

Elections took place across the UK on May 6th. Results began to emerge the following day, first with the news that Labour had lost the by-election in Hartlepool. With counting in Holyrood, the Senedd, all English mayoral and council contests and for the police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections complete, LabourList takes a look at the full results.

Labour has lost several English councils, as well as PCCs, while the Tories have gained several. The mayoral races have been a mixed bag, with Labour losing two but also taking two from the Tories. Welsh Labour outperformed expectations in the Senedd, while the Scottish party lost two seats in Holyrood.

Councils in England

Labour has 1,345 councillors (-326) after the elections, losing control of a net total of eight councils. The Tories have 2,345 (+235) councillors and are up 13 councils. The elections also saw the Greens do well, securing an additional 88 seats.

The results mean that the country now has 44 Labour-run councils and 63 Conservative. Seven are under the control of the Lib Dems (+1) and 29 remain under ‘no overall control’ (NOC), which is a reduction of six on the last set of local elections.

Harlow, Southampton and Amber Valley switched from Labour to the Tories, who made most gains from those previously under NOC, including Basildon; Basingstoke and Deane; Cannock Chase; Cornwall; Dudley; Gloucester; Maidstone; Northumberland; Nottinghamshire; Nuneaton and Bedworth; Pendle; Welwyn Hatfield; and Worcester.

Labour lost five councils to NOC: Durham; Plymouth; Rossendale; Sheffield and West Lancashire. The Conservatives saw three of their councils – Cambridgeshire, Tunbridge Wells and Isle of Wight – switch to NOC on Thursday, and lost Castle Point to Independents.


Mayors in England

Labour retained the Liverpool City, Liverpool City Region, Greater Manchester, London, Doncaster and Bristol mayoralties. The party gained the West of England as well as the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayors, and won the inaugural West Yorkshire election. The party lost in the West Midlands and the Tees Valley.

Thursday also saw Londoners elect their Assembly Members (AMs), who scrutinise the London mayor. Labour held its nine constituency seats as did the Conservatives their five. Labour lost one London-wide list seat, while the Tories gained one. See the full results for the GLA here.



Welsh Labour outperformed expectations, with polls in the run-up to the vote predicting the party would take between 22 and 29 seats. Labour finished the count with 30 seats, including 27 constituency seats and three on the regional lists.

Labour gained one seat on its 2016 performance, while the Conservatives gained five for a total of 16. Plaid Cymru secured 13 seats, up one on the last election and the Lib Dems lost their constituency seat but gained one on the lists.

Labour took 39.9% (+5.2 on 2016) of the vote in the constituency seats ballot. 26.1% (+5) backed the Conservatives. Plaid Cymru secured 20.3% (-2), the Lib Dems took 4.9% (-3.8), the Greens 1.6% (+0.9) and Abolish 1.5%.

Labour took 36.2% (+4.6) of the vote in the regional lists seats ballot. 25.1% (+6.3) backed the Conservatives. Plaid Cymru secured 27.8% (0.1), the Lib Dems took 4.3% (-2.2), the Greens 3.6% (+0.6) and Abolish 3.7%.


Scottish parliament

Scottish Labour secured 22 seats in Holyrood, down two on the 2016 election, including holding two of its constituency seats: Dumbarton; and Edinburgh Southern. The party lost the Lothian constituency seat to the SNP.

The SNP now hold 64 seats in the Scottish parliament, up one on its 2016 performance. The Conservatives retained their 31 members in Holyrood, while the Lib Dems lost one seat for a final total of four. Eight seats were taken by the Greens.

The SNP came away with 47.7% (+1.2) of all constituency seats votes. Labour took 21.6% (-1). The Conservatives also saw their 2016 vote share fall slightly to 21.9% (-0.1) as did the Lib Dems as they secured 6.9% (-0.9).

The SNP secured 40.3% (-1.4) of the votes for the regional list seats, while Labour took 18% (-1.1). The Conservatives got the backing of 23.5% (+0.6) on the lists, the Greens 8.1% (+1.5) and the Lib Dems 5.1% (-0.1).


Police and crime commissioners

Residents in England and Wales elected their police and crime commissioner representatives on Thursday. Labour again saw disappointing results across England, losing hold of seven of its PCC positions to the Conservatives.

The Conservatives now hold 28 in England, and Labour four. The Wiltshire election will be re-held after Tory Jonathan Seed had to withdraw from the contest on the eve of the count after a conviction for drink-driving came to light.

Labour gained an additional representatives in Wales, winning on the second round of voting in a close fight with the Tories to take North Wales from Plaid Cymru. Labour now holds a total of three of the four Welsh PCCs.


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