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Tuesday 10 May 2016

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Super-Thursday elections - the TUSC results

The final Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) results from Thursday's elections are in. In total 43,309 votes were cast for TUSC candidates, a good showing for a clear 100% anti-austerity message.

The highlight of the campaign was the performance of the UNISON national executive member Roger Bannister, standing on behalf of TUSC for the mayor of Liverpool, who came in fourth ahead of Britain's governing party, with 4,950 votes (a 5.1% share). For the second time, following Tony Mulhearn's result in the 2012 Liverpool mayoral election, TUSC has outpolled the Tories in Britain's eighth biggest city.

A draft report of the full results and analysis (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/380.pdf) has now been produced by the TUSC national election agent, Clive Heemskerk, and will go to next week's meeting of the national steering committee, which will be reviewing the election intervention.

Other significant features of the results include:

■ TUSC council candidates polled over 1,000 votes in ten councils, led by Sheffield with 3,109 votes, Coventry (3,108), Bristol (2,827 votes for candidates in 16 wards), Liverpool (2,292 votes in 17 wards), Warrington (1,719), Knowsley (1,644), Southampton (1,060), Wakefield (1,044), Salford (1,037) and Plymouth (1,033).

■ The best average percentage share of the vote score across a council in which TUSC stood in at least a third of the seats was achieved in Barnsley, where TUSC averaged 5.3%, followed by Coventry (5.1% average across the city), Wakefield (4.6%), Rugby (4.3%), Bristol (4.1%), Stevenage (4.1%), and Gateshead (4%).

■ The TUSC candidate for the mayor of Liverpool, Roger Bannister, had already beaten UKIP before the polls opened - despite an almost daily presence in the establishment media to boost Nigel Farage's party, UKIP were unable to find a candidate for mayor in Britain's eighth biggest city.

■ The TUSC candidate for mayor of Bristol, Tom Baldwin, scored a respectable 1,876 first preference votes and there was also a positive knock-on effect from his campaign on the votes achieved by the TUSC candidates in the Bristol council elections. With 45% of the wards contested by TUSC, 2,827 votes were won, with an average of 4.1%.

■ Despite a fantastic campaign that showed the depths of his local support, TUSC councillor Kevin Bennett narrowly failed to be re-elected in his Fairfield & Howley ward on Warrington borough council, polling 921 votes, just 76 votes behind the third-placed Labour candidate. Warrington TUSC candidate Bob Taylor won a parish council seat in the town.

■ After Kevin, the best council election scores were achieved in Knowsley's Shevington ward (23.5%), Warrington's Poulton South ward (20.8%), St Michaels in Coventry (19.8%), Halewood South in Knowsley (17.3%), Monk Bretton in Barnsley (13.7%) and High Fell in Gateshead (12%).

■ A total of 59 TUSC candidates polled over 5% in their ward contests.

■ In the Coxford ward held by the Southampton rebel councillors Don Thomas and the TUSC national steering committee member Keith Morrell, the independent anti-cuts candidate Tammy Thomas polled 1,317 votes (38.6%), coming in 393 votes ahead of Labour (27%).

■ Across the 289 wards contested by TUSC in the scheduled council elections, 13% percent of the total, the mean average vote for TUSC candidates was 3.4%.

■ In more than one in four of the council wards where TUSC fielded a candidate on May 5th, TUSC attracted more support than the Liberal Democrats. In one in three wards TUSC either outpolled UKIP or they couldn't find a candidate. And for every two and a half Green voters in the wards where TUSC fielded a candidate, there was one TUSC voter.

These were elections fought in a completely different context compared to that in which previous TUSC campaigns have been conducted, with Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership victory last autumn transforming the political situation.

TUSC has been clear that it would not stand candidates against Labour politicians who have backed Jeremy Corbyn and resisted austerity in the Scottish parliament, the Welsh assembly or local councils.

But the big majority of Labour's elected representatives, from parliament to the local council chamber, did not support Jeremy Corbyn for leader and still continue to implement cuts to jobs and services.

They should get the message from Thursday's elections that, if they continue to attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and implement the Tories' austerity agenda, they can expect more challenges - in workplaces, in communities and on the streets, but also at the ballot box.