Labour seize Margaret Thatcher’s favourite council after 44 years

Labour have taken control of Wandsworth council in a stinging blow to the Conservatives in their flagship London borough.

The south west London, borough, known for its low council tax, had been held by the Tories since 1978 and was once regarded as Margaret Thatcher’s favourite council.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan was at Wandsworth Civic Suite count to see the results come in and celebrate with the borough’s three Labour MPs, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Marsha de Cordova and Fleur Anderson.

Labour’s Simon Hogg replaced the Conservatives’ Ravi Govindi as the council leader, with Labour taking target seats in the Trinity Ward and Wandle Ward.

Hailing the victory, Mr Khan said to wild applause: “History has been made tonight.”

Prior to this morning’s result, 33 Conservative councillors and 26 Labour councillors were in place after the last election in 2018, which had seen Labour win eight seats from the Tories and win the popular vote.

Wandsworth was the only borough in London to cut council tax this year.

Caption: London Mayor Sadiq Khan reacts to the counting process during local elections, at Wandsworth (Photo: Reuters/Hannah McKay)

A one per cent cut to council tax bills was announced this year, in contrast to increases of up to 2.99 per cent in the capital’s other councils, with with band D residents paying £716.51 a year, one of the lowest rates in England.

It has undergone huge development in recent years, with luxury flats built around Nine Elms near Vauxhall Bridge and the iconic Battersea Power Station.

The Embassy Garden site has seen the installation of the Sky Pool, a transparent swimming pool spanning two tower blocks.

This year, the number of seats in the borough was cut from 60 to 58 following the findings of the Local Government Boundary Commission.

In recent years, Wandsworth has moved to the left, with all three of the borough’s MPs in Putney, Tooting and Battersea Labour.

During the 2016 Brexit referendum, it saw the eighth highest vote for Remain of any borough.

At the last local election in 2018, turnout was 43.62 per cent, the highest since 2010, when local elections coincided with the General Election.

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