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United Kingdom local elections, 2003

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United Kingdom local elections, 2003

United Kingdom local elections, 2003

1 May 2003

  Majority party Minority party Third party
Leader Iain Duncan Smith Tony Blair Charles Kennedy
Party Conservative Labour Liberal Democrat
Leader since September 2001 21 July 1994 9 August 1999
Percentage 35 30 27
Councils 110 66 28
Councils +/- 31 28 5
Councillors 4,430 3,012 2,586
Councillors +/- 568 831 189

Local elections took place in various parts of the United Kingdom on 1 May 2003, the same day as the Scottish Parliamentary and the Welsh Assembly elections. There were local elections for all councils in Scotland and in most of England. There were no elections in Wales, Northern Ireland or London.

The ruling Labour Party lost a considerable 833 seats, while both the main opposition parties, Conservative and Liberal Democrat, polled strongly, with the Conservatives enjoying the largest share of the vote.

Fifty nine councils held electoral pilot schemes to try and boost turnout figures. Schemes included all postal voting, mobile polling stations, alterations to voting hours and various kinds of Electronic voting. The most successful in raising turnout was all-postal voting which saw turnout rise to an average of 50%. In comparison turnout across the whole of England was only 33%.

The results

The Labour party lost a considerable 833 seats, losing control of councils such as Birmingham and Coventry, both of which the party had controlled for 20 years.

The Conservative party, who following the elections had the most councillors in the country (ahead of Labour by 601), extended its lead over the Labour party by 1,399 councillors, however their celebrations were tempered by the resignation of Conservative front bencher Crispin Blunt, who described the party leader, Iain Duncan Smith as a "handicap" and called for him to be replaced.[1]

The Liberal Democrat party gained its highest ever share of the vote at 30% only one percent behind the Labour party.

Party Councillors Councils
+/- Total +/- Total
  Conservative Party +566 4,423 +31 110
  Labour Party -833 3,001 -28 66
  Liberal Democrat +193 2,624 +5 28
  Independents -42 1,142 -2 10
  Scottish National Party -21 182 -1 1
  Residents 0 84 0 2
  Green Party +9 34 0 0
  British National Party +11 13 0 0
  Liberal Party -2 9 0 0
  Health Concern -2 5 0 0
  Scottish Socialist Party -1 2 0 0
  Other -24 107 0 0
  No overall control n/a n/a -5 123

Scottish local elections

All 32 Scottish unitary authorities held elections. They were held at the same time as the Scottish Parliamentary Election, 2003.

Council Former control New control Type Link to Council election
Aberdeen NOC NOC Unitary
Aberdeenshire NOC NOC Unitary
Angus Scottish National Party Scottish National Party Unitary
Argyll and Bute Independent Independent Unitary
Clackmannanshire Scottish National Party Labour Unitary
Dumfries and Galloway NOC NOC Unitary
Dundee NOC NOC Unitary
East Ayrshire Labour Labour Unitary East Ayrshire
East Dunbartonshire NOC NOC Unitary
East Lothian Labour Labour Unitary
East Renfrewshire NOC NOC Unitary
Edinburgh Labour Labour Unitary
Falkirk NOC NOC Unitary
Fife NOC NOC Unitary
Glasgow Labour Labour Unitary Glasgow
Highland Independent Independent Unitary Highland
Inverclyde NOC Liberal Democrat Unitary
Midlothian Labour Labour Unitary
Moray Independent Independent Unitary
North Ayrshire Labour Labour Unitary
North Lanarkshire Labour Labour Unitary North Lanarkshire
Orkney Independent Independent Unitary
Perth and Kinross NOC NOC Unitary
Renfrewshire NOC Labour Unitary
Scottish Borders NOC NOC Unitary
Shetland Independent Independent Unitary
South Ayrshire Labour NOC Unitary
South Lanarkshire Labour Labour Unitary South Lanarkshire
Stirling NOC Labour Unitary
West Dunbartonshire NOC Labour Unitary
West Lothian Labour Labour Unitary
Western Isles Independent Independent Unitary

Metropolitan boroughs

All 36 English Metropolitan borough councils had one third of their seats up for election.
Council Previous control New Control Details
Barnsley Labour Labour hold Details
Birmingham Labour No overall control gain Details
Bolton Labour No overall control gain Details
Bradford No overall control No overall control hold Details
Bury Labour Labour hold Details
Calderdale No overall control No overall control hold Details
Coventry Labour No overall control gain Details
Doncaster Labour Labour hold Details
Dudley Labour No overall control gain Details
Gateshead Labour Labour hold Details
Kirklees No overall control No overall control hold Details
Knowsley Labour Labour hold Details
Leeds Labour Labour hold Details
Liverpool Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Manchester Labour Labour hold Details
Newcastle upon Tyne Labour Labour hold Details
North Tyneside Labour Labour hold Details
Oldham No overall control Labour gain Details
Rochdale Labour No overall control gain Details
Rotherham Labour Labour hold Details
St. Helens Labour Labour hold Details
Salford Labour Labour hold Details
Sandwell Labour Labour hold Details
Sefton No overall control No overall control hold Details
Sheffield No overall control Labour gain Details
Solihull Conservative Conservative hold Details
South Tyneside Labour Labour hold Details
Stockport Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Sunderland Labour Labour hold Details
Tameside Labour Labour hold Details
Trafford Labour No overall control gain Details
Wakefield Labour Labour hold Details
Walsall No overall control No overall control hold Details
Wigan Labour Labour hold Details
Wirral No overall control No overall control hold Details
Wolverhampton Labour Labour hold Details
Council Former control New control Type Link to Council election
Barnsley Labour Labour Metropolitan Barnsley
Birmingham Labour NOC Metropolitan
Bolton Labour NOC Metropolitan Bolton
Bradford NOC NOC Metropolitan
Bury Labour Labour Metropolitan
Calderdale NOC NOC Metropolitan Calderdale
Coventry Labour NOC Metropolitan
Doncaster Labour Labour Metropolitan
Dudley Labour NOC Metropolitan
Gateshead Labour Labour Metropolitan Gateshead
Kirklees NOC NOC Metropolitan
Knowsley Labour Labour Metropolitan Knowsley
Leeds Labour Labour Metropolitan Leeds
Liverpool Liberal Democrats Liberal Democrats Metropolitan Liverpool
Manchester Labour Labour Metropolitan
Newcastle upon Tyne Labour Labour Metropolitan
North Tyneside Labour Labour Metropolitan North Tyneside
Oldham NOC Labour Metropolitan
Rochdale Labour NOC Metropolitan Rochdale
Rotherham Labour Labour Metropolitan
Salford Labour Labour Metropolitan Salford
Sandwell Labour Labour Metropolitan Sandwell
Sefton NOC NOC Metropolitan Sefton
Sheffield NOC Labour Metropolitan Sheffield
Solihull Conservative Conservative Metropolitan Solihull
South Tyneside Labour Labour Metropolitan South Tyneside
St Helens Labour Labour Metropolitan St Helens
Stockport Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat Metropolitan
Sunderland Labour Labour Metropolitan Sunderland
Tameside Labour Labour Metropolitan
Trafford Labour NOC Metropolitan Trafford
Wakefield Labour Labour Metropolitan Wakefield
Walsall NOC NOC Metropolitan Walsall
Wigan Labour Labour Metropolitan Wigan
Wirral NOC NOC Metropolitan Wirral
Wolverhampton Labour Labour Metropolitan Wolverhampton

Unitary Authorities

Whole council

In 27 English Unitary authorities the whole council was up for election.

Council Former control New control Type Link to Council election
Bath and North East Somerset NOC NOC Unitary
Blackpool Labour Labour Unitary Blackpool
Bournemouth NOC Liberal Democrat Unitary
Bracknell Forest Conservative Conservative Unitary
Brighton & Hove Labour NOC Unitary Brighton & Hove
Darlington Labour Labour Unitary
East Riding of Yorkshire NOC NOC Unitary
Herefordshire NOC NOC Unitary
Leicester NOC NOC Unitary
Luton Labour NOC Unitary Politics in Luton
Medway NOC Conservative Unitary
Middlesbrough Labour Labour Unitary
North East Lincolnshire Labour NOC Unitary
North Lincolnshire Labour Conservative Unitary North Lincolnshire
North Somerset Conservative NOC Unitary North Somerset
Nottingham Labour Labour Unitary
Plymouth Conservative Labour Unitary
Poole NOC Conservative Unitary
Redcar and Cleveland Labour NOC Unitary Redcar and Cleveland
Rutland Independent Conservative Unitary
South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat NOC Unitary
Stockton-on-Tees Labour Labour Unitary
Telford and Wrekin Labour Labour Unitary
Torbay Conservative Liberal Democrat Unitary
West Berkshire Liberal Democrat NOC Unitary
Windsor and Maidenhead NOC Liberal Democrat Unitary Windsor and Maidenhead
York NOC Liberal Democrat Unitary York

One third of council

In 13 English Unitary authorities one third of the council was up for election.

Council Former control New control Type Link to Council election
Bristol Labour NOC Unitary
Derby Labour NOC Unitary Derby
Hartlepool NOC NOC Unitary
Kingston upon Hull NOC NOC Unitary Hull
Milton Keynes Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat Unitary Milton Keynes
Portsmouth NOC NOC Unitary Portsmouth
Reading Labour Labour Unitary
Slough Labour Labour Unitary
Southampton NOC NOC Unitary Southampton
Southend-on-Sea Conservative Conservative Unitary Southend-on-Sea
Stoke-on-Trent NOC NOC Unitary
Swindon NOC NOC Unitary Swindon
Wokingham Conservative Conservative Unitary Wokingham

District councils

Whole council

In 150 English district authorities the whole council was up for election.

Council Former control New control Type Link to Council election
Allerdale Labour NOC District Allerdale
Alnwick NOC NOC District Alnwick
Arun Conservative Conservative District Arun
Ashfield Labour NOC District Ashfield
Ashford NOC Conservative District Ashford
Aylesbury Vale NOC Conservative District Aylesbury Vale
Babergh NOC NOC District Babergh
Berwick-upon-Tweed Liberal Democrat NOC District
Blaby Conservative Conservative District
Blyth Valley Labour Labour District
Bolsover Labour Labour District Bolsover
Boston NOC NOC District
Braintree NOC NOC District
Breckland Conservative Conservative District
Bridgnorth Independent NOC District
Bromsgrove Conservative Conservative District
Broxtowe Labour NOC District
Canterbury NOC NOC District
Caradon NOC NOC District
Carrick Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District
Castle Morpeth NOC NOC District
Castle Point Labour Conservative District Castle Point
Charnwood NOC NOC District
Chelmsford NOC Conservative District
Chester-le-Street Labour Labour District
Chesterfield Labour Liberal Democrat District
Chichester Conservative Conservative District Chichester
Chiltern Conservative Conservative District
Christchurch Conservative Conservative District
Copeland Labour Labour District Copeland
Corby Labour Labour District Corby
Cotswold NOC Conservative District
Dacorum NOC Conservative District Dacorum
Dartford Labour NOC District Dartford
Derbyshire Dales Conservative Conservative District Derbyshire Dales
Derwentside Labour Labour District
Dover NOC NOC District
Durham Labour Liberal Democrat District
Easington Labour Labour District
East Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrat NOC District
East Devon Conservative Conservative District
East Dorset Conservative Conservative District East Dorset
East Hampshire Conservative Conservative District East Hampshire
East Hertfordshire Conservative Conservative District
East Lindsey Independent NOC District
East Northamptonshire Conservative Conservative District
East Staffordshire Labour Conservative District
Eden Independent Independent District
Epsom and Ewell Residents Residents District
Erewash Labour Conservative District
Fenland Conservative Conservative District Fenland
Forest Heath Conservative Conservative District
Forest of Dean Labour NOC District
Fylde NOC Conservative District Fylde
Gedling Conservative NOC District Gedling
Gravesham Labour Labour District Gravesham
Guildford NOC Conservative District
Hambleton Conservative Conservative District
Harborough NOC NOC District
High Peak Labour NOC District High Peak
Hinckley and Bosworth NOC Conservative District Hinckley and Bosworth
Horsham Conservative NOC District
Kennet Conservative Conservative District
Kerrier NOC NOC District
Kettering Labour Conservative District Kettering
King's Lynn and West Norfolk NOC Conservative District
Lancaster NOC NOC District
Lewes Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District
Lichfield Conservative Conservative District
Maldon Conservative Conservative District
Malvern Hills Conservative NOC District
Mansfield Labour Independent District
Melton NOC Conservative District
Mendip NOC Conservative District
Mid Bedfordshire Conservative Conservative District
Mid Devon NOC NOC District
Mid Suffolk NOC Conservative District
Mid Sussex Conservative Conservative District
New Forest Conservative Conservative District
Newark and Sherwood NOC NOC District
North Cornwall Independent Independent District
North Devon Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District North Devon
North Dorset NOC NOC District
North East Derbyshire Labour Labour District
North Kesteven NOC NOC District
North Norfolk NOC Liberal Democrat District
North Shropshire Independent NOC District
North Warwickshire Labour NOC District
North West Leicestershire Labour Labour District
North Wiltshire NOC NOC District
Northampton Labour NOC District Northampton
Oadby and Wigston Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District
Oswestry NOC NOC District
Restormel NOC NOC District Restormel
Ribble Valley NOC Conservative District
Richmondshire NOC NOC District
Rother Conservative Conservative District Rother
Rushcliffe Conservative Conservative District
Ryedale NOC NOC District Ryedale
Salisbury NOC Conservative District
Scarborough NOC Conservative District Scarborough
Sedgefield Labour Labour District Sedgefield
Sedgemoor Conservative Conservative District Sedgemoor
Selby NOC Conservative District
Sevenoaks Conservative Conservative District
Shepway Conservative Liberal Democrat District
South Bucks Conservative Conservative District
South Derbyshire Labour Labour District
South Hams Conservative Conservative District
South Holland NOC Conservative District
South Kesteven NOC Conservative District
South Norfolk Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District
South Northamptonshire Conservative Conservative District
South Oxfordshire NOC Conservative District South Oxfordshire
South Ribble NOC NOC District South Ribble
South Shropshire NOC NOC District
South Somerset Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District
South Staffordshire Conservative Conservative District
Spelthorne Conservative Conservative District
St Edmundsbury NOC Conservative District
Stafford NOC Conservative District Stafford
Staffordshire Moorlands NOC NOC District
Suffolk Coastal Conservative Conservative District
Surrey Heath Conservative Conservative District
Taunton Deane NOC Conservative District
Teesdale NOC Independent District
Teignbridge NOC NOC District
Tendring NOC NOC District
Test Valley Conservative Conservative District
Tewkesbury NOC NOC District
Thanet Labour Conservative District
Tonbridge and Malling NOC Conservative District Tonbridge and Malling
Torridge NOC NOC District Torridge
Tynedale NOC Conservative District Tynedale
Uttlesford NOC Liberal Democrat District
Vale of White Horse Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District Vale of White Horse
Vale Royal Labour NOC District
Wansbeck Labour Labour District
Warwick NOC NOC District
Waverley Conservative Liberal Democrat District
Wealden Conservative Conservative District Wealden
Wear Valley Labour Labour District
Wellingborough Labour Conservative District
West Devon NOC NOC District
West Dorset NOC Conservative District
West Somerset Conservative Conservative District West Somerset
West Wiltshire Liberal Democrat NOC District West Wiltshire
Wychavon Conservative Conservative District
Wycombe Conservative Conservative District
Wyre Conservative Conservative District

One third of council

In 82 English district authorities one third of the council was up for election.

Council Former control New control Type Link to Council election
Adur Conservative Conservative District Adur
Amber Valley Conservative Conservative District Amber Valley
Barrow-in-Furness NOC Labour District Barrow-in-Furness
Basildon NOC Conservative District Basildon
Basingstoke and Deane NOC NOC District Basingstoke and Deane
Bassetlaw Labour Labour District
Bedford NOC NOC District
Brentwood Liberal Democrat NOC District Brentwood
Broadland Conservative Conservative District
Broxbourne Conservative Conservative District Broxbourne
Burnley Labour Labour District Burnley
Cambridge Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District
Cannock Chase Labour NOC District
Carlisle NOC NOC District Carlisle
Cherwell Conservative Conservative District Cherwell
Chester NOC NOC District
Chorley NOC NOC District Chorley
Colchester NOC NOC District
Congleton NOC Conservative District
Craven NOC NOC District Craven
Crawley Labour Labour District
Crewe and Nantwich NOC NOC District
Daventry Conservative Conservative District Daventry
Eastbourne Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District Eastbourne
Eastleigh Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District Eastleigh
Ellesmere Port and Neston Labour Labour District Ellesmere Port and Neston
Elmbridge Residents Residents District
Epping Forest NOC NOC District Epping Forest
Exeter Labour NOC District
Gloucester NOC NOC District
Great Yarmouth Conservative Conservative District Great Yarmouth
Harlow NOC NOC District Harlow
Harrogate NOC NOC District Harrogate
Hart Conservative Conservative District Hart
Havant Conservative Conservative District Havant
Hertsmere Conservative Conservative District Hertsmere
Huntingdonshire Conservative Conservative District Huntingdonshire
Hyndburn Labour Conservative District Hyndburn
Ipswich Labour Labour District Ipswich
Lincoln Labour Labour District Lincoln
Macclesfield Conservative Conservative District
Maidstone NOC NOC District Maidstone
Mole Valley NOC NOC District Mole Valley
Newcastle-under-Lyme NOC NOC District Newcastle-under-Lyme
North Hertfordshire Conservative Conservative District
Norwich Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District
Pendle NOC NOC District Pendle
Penwith NOC NOC District Penwith
Preston NOC NOC District Preston
Purbeck Conservative Conservative District Purbeck
Redditch NOC NOC District Redditch
Reigate and Banstead Conservative Conservative District
Rochford Conservative Conservative District Rochford
Rossendale Labour NOC District Rossendale
Rugby NOC NOC District Rugby
Runnymede Conservative Conservative District Runnymede
Rushmoor Conservative Conservative District Rushmoor
Shrewsbury and Atcham Conservative Conservative District
South Bedfordshire Conservative Conservative District
South Cambridgeshire NOC NOC District
South Lakeland NOC NOC District South Lakeland
St Albans NOC NOC District St Albans
Stevenage Labour Labour District Stevenage
Stratford-on-Avon NOC Conservative District Stratford-on-Avon
Stroud Conservative Conservative District Stroud
Swale Conservative Conservative District
Tamworth Labour Labour District Tamworth
Tandridge Conservative Conservative District Tandridge
Three Rivers Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District Three Rivers
Tunbridge Wells Conservative Conservative District Tunbridge Wells
Watford NOC Liberal Democrat District Watford
Waveney NOC NOC District Waveney
Welwyn Hatfield Conservative Conservative District Welwyn Hatfield
West Lancashire Conservative Conservative District West Lancashire
West Lindsey NOC NOC District West Lindsey
West Oxfordshire Conservative Conservative District
Weymouth and Portland NOC NOC District Weymouth and Portland
Winchester Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat District Winchester
Woking NOC NOC District Woking
Worcester NOC Conservative District Worcester
Worthing Liberal Democrat NOC District Worthing
Wyre Forest NOC NOC District Wyre Forest

External links

  • BBC Vote 2003
  • Voting Pilots in 2003
  • The Guardian 2003 election coverage
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