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Tuesday 8 May 2018

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Local elections 2018: the TUSC results report

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) stood 111 council candidates in 33 authorities in the local elections on May 3rd, contesting 101 wards.

The stand-out result was the victory of TUSC national steering committee member Keith Morrell, one of the three Putting People First group of anti-cuts councillors that sits on Southampton council. The next best score was recorded in Kirklees council's Crosland Moor & Netherton ward, with TUSC winning 701 votes for a 14.2% share. The best performance in a single council was achieved in Waltham Forest, with TUSC polling 2,841 votes across the 12 wards (out of 20) contested there.

A report of the campaign, with details of the full results of every TUSC candidate, has been prepared by the TUSC National Election Agent (see the draft report at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/424.pdf), and will be discussed at the next TUSC national steering committee meeting on May 23rd.

Summary points from the report include:

■ This was the most selective local election stand that TUSC has taken in its eight-year history, following the general re-calibration of its electoral policy after Jeremy Corbyn's welcome victory as Labour leader in September 2015.

■ There was not a single TUSC candidate on May 3rd standing in a direct head-to-head contest with a Labour candidate who had been a consistent public supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and his anti-austerity policies. TUSC only stood against right-wing, Blairite Labour councillors and candidates.

■ There were 31 Labour-led councils in which TUSC contested seats on May 3rd. These councils had voted for around half a billion pounds of further cuts to local jobs and services in their 2018-19 budget-setting meetings earlier this year. The councillors who supported this could not be seen as 'anti-austerity councillors' in any definable way.

■ The Labour candidates in the seats contested by TUSC included 32 councillors who had publically backed the leadership coup attempt against Jeremy Corbyn in summer 2016, signing a national Open Letter of support for the right-wing challenger Owen Smith.

■ The stand-out result for TUSC was the victory of Southampton councillor Keith Morrell. Keith was re-elected with a 46.9% share of the vote in his Coxford ward, up from 42.7% when he first stood independently in 2014 after his expulsion from the Labour Party the previous year.

■ The next best score was recorded in Kirklees council's Crosland Moor & Netherton ward, with TUSC polling 701 votes for a 14.2% share. The other TUSC candidate in Kirklees polled 285 votes, 6.4%, in Ashbrow ward. Both candidates are key organisers of the Hands Off Huddersfield Royal Infirmary campaign which has conducted a two-year long struggle to stop the closure of the hospital's A&E department.

■ In just under one fifth of the wards it contested TUSC polled five percent or more of the vote. The mean average vote for TUSC council candidates overall was 3.7%.

■ Including the results from this year's more selective stand, just under 380,000 votes have now been cast for TUSC's 100% anti-austerity socialist platform since the formation of our coalition in 2010.

In a situation where Labour is still so clearly two-parties-in-one, the report concludes - with many local 'Labour' candidates standing more ferociously against Jeremy Corbyn than they do the Tories - the task is still there to make sure that politicians of any party label who support capitalism and its inevitable austerity agenda are not left unchallenged.