Local elections: Labour wins majority control of Medway for first time

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Labour has won majority control of Medway council for the first time since the local authority’s creation in 1998, in the party’s third council gain of this year’s local elections after Plymouth and Stoke-on-Trent.

The results in Medway are yet to be fully announced but Labour has so far made nine gains to take its total to 31 seats, after 53 of the council’s 59 seats have been declared. The Tories have lost nine seats to take their total to 21.

In an interview with Sky News, Labour group leader Vince Maple spoke of his pride in being leader-elect, telling viewers: “The offer we had has given people hope.” He called the result an “historic day for Labour in Medway”, adding: “Residents have asked for change, and we’re going to bring that to them.”

Maple also said the result was better than what Labour had achieved even in the mid-1990s, ahead of Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997.

Update, 7am: The full results in Medway have now been announced. Labour has ended the night on 33 seats, having made 11 gains. The Tories have lost 13 seats to take their total to 22. The remaining four seats on the council were won by Independents.

Medway was a key target council for Labour during this year’s local elections, with Labour leader Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner visiting the area on the final day before voters headed to the polls.

The area is represented in Westminster by three Tory MPs, with majorities ranging from 15,119 in Gillingham and Rainham to 18,540 in Chatham and Aylesford.

Labour argued ahead of its victory in Medway that the local election results so far show that the party is “on course for a majority Labour government”, pointing to its wins in Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and expected win in Medway.

The party said it was “confident” it would achieve an equivalent vote share lead of at least 8 points, which it said would represent its “best result since 1997”. It said such a lead in a general election would see Labour win a majority government, taking into account an “anticipated recovery” by the party in Scotland.

The party said the aggregate vote share across constituencies is showing Labour winning “several key marginals” but also seats that are “well beyond what Labour would need to win in order to win the election”. It noted that there are still lots of results to come and said the party was “confident of making more gains”.

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