1997 United Kingdom local elections

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1997 United Kingdom local elections

← 1996 1 May 1997 (England)
21 May 1997 (Northern Ireland)
1998 →

All 34 non-metropolitan counties, 21 out of 46 unitary authorities,
1 out of 238 English districts, 1 sui generis authority
and all 26 Northern Irish districts
  Majority party Minority party Third party
  Tony Blair WEF (cropped).jpg John Major 1996.jpg ASHDOWN Paddy.jpg
Leader Tony Blair John Major Paddy Ashdown
Party Labour Conservative Liberal Democrat
Leader since 21 July 1994 28 November 1990 16 July 1988
Councillors 1,299 1,121 741
Councillors +/- Increase1 Increase193 Decrease177

United Kingdom local elections, 1997.svg
Colours denote the winning party, as shown in the main table of results.

The United Kingdom local elections took place on the 1 May, 1997.[1][2] Elections took place for all of the English shire counties, some English unitary authorities and all of the Northern Ireland districts. The elections were held on the same day as the general election.


Summary of results[edit]

Party Councils Councillors
Gain Loss Change Total Gain Loss Change Total
Labour 1 1299
Liberal Democrat -177 741
Conservative 193 1121
Other -17 131
No overall control

[3]

While the results were overshadowed by the landslide election of a Labour government, they did provide some comfort to the Conservative party. The Conservatives made some gains and were the largest party in the county council elections. It is likely that what helped the Conservatives gain some councils (Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and Kent) was the creation of unitary authorities and thus the abolition of county council divisions in these areas (in this case unitaries in Peterborough, Luton, Thurrock and Medway), in predominantly urbanised areas which are usually strong for the Labour Party in elections and indeed all four of those unitaries (and all of the parliamentary seats that they cover) were won/held by Labour at the point these elections took place. Buckinghamshire, the only county council that the Conservatives actually had a majority for the four years prior to these elections, will have also been helped by the creation of a unitary authority for Milton Keynes in 1996.

The gains for the Conservatives in Lincolnshire, Surrey and West Sussex will likely have been helped by the fact that most parliamentary seats in these counties were seriously strong Conservative areas (indeed, every parliamentary seat in Surrey was retained by the Conservatives in the general election) and thus saw some genuine ground recovered compared with the 1993 local elections. The only seats that the Conservatives lost in the general election in these areas were Lincoln and Crawley, both of which were very easy seats for Labour to gain in the general election, while they came close to losing Boston & Skegness to Labour too, though this was far from enough to have made a difference to council control in their respective counties.

England[edit]

Non-metropolitan county councils[edit]

In 34 non-metropolitan counties the whole council was up for election.

Council Previous control Result Details
Bedfordshire No overall control Conservative gain Details
Buckinghamshire Conservative Conservative hold Details
Cambridgeshire No overall control Conservative gain Details
Cheshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Cornwall Liberal Democrat No overall control gain Details
Cumbria No overall control Labour gain Details
Derbyshire Labour Labour hold Details
Devon No overall control Liberal Democrat gain Details
Dorset No overall control No overall control hold Details
Durham Labour Labour hold Details
East Sussex No overall control No overall control hold Details
Essex No overall control Conservative gain Details
Gloucestershire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Hampshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Hertfordshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Kent No overall control Conservative gain Details
Lancashire Labour Labour hold Details
Leicestershire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Lincolnshire No overall control Conservative gain Details
Norfolk No overall control No overall control hold Details
North Yorkshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Northamptonshire Labour Labour hold Details
Northumberland Labour Labour hold Details
Nottinghamshire Labour Labour hold Details
Oxfordshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Shropshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Somerset Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat hold Details
Staffordshire Labour Labour hold Details
Suffolk No overall control No overall control hold Details
Surrey No overall control Conservative gain Details
Warwickshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
West Sussex No overall control Conservative gain Details
Wiltshire No overall control No overall control hold Details
Worcestershire No overall control No overall control hold Details

† Elected as a "shadow authority" until 1 April 1998.

‡ Because areas of the county were due to become unitary authorities on 1 April 1998, the county councillors representing those areas had their terms extended by one year and no election was held.

Unitary authorities[edit]

Whole council[edit]

These were the first elections to 19 more unitary authorities established by the Local Government Commission for England (1992). They acted as "shadow authorities" until 1 April 1998.

Council Previous control Result Details
Blackburn with Darwen New Council Labour Details
Blackpool New Council Labour Details
Bracknell Forest New Council Conservative Details
Halton New Council Labour Details
Herefordshire New Council Liberal Democrat Details
Medway New Council Labour Details
Nottingham New Council Labour Details
Peterborough New Council Labour Details
Plymouth New Council Labour Details
Reading New Council Labour Details
Slough New Council Labour Details
Southend-on-Sea New Council No overall control Details
Telford and Wrekin New Council Labour Details
Thurrock New Council Labour Details
Torbay New Council Liberal Democrat Details
Warrington New Council Labour Details
West Berkshire New Council Liberal Democrat Details
Windsor and Maidenhead New Council No overall control Details
Wokingham New Council Conservative Details

‡ New ward boundaries from predecessor authorities

Third of council[edit]

In 2 unitary authorities one third of the council was up for election.

Council Previous control Result Details
Bristol Labour Labour hold Details
Kingston upon Hull Labour Labour hold Details

District council[edit]

In 1 district the whole council was up for election.

Council Previous control Result Details
Malvern Hills No overall control No overall control hold Details

‡ New ward boundaries

Sui generis[edit]

Council Previous control Result Details
Isles of Scilly Independent Independent hold Details

Northern Ireland[edit]

Council Previous control Result Details
Antrim No overall control No overall control Details
Ards No overall control No overall control Details
Armagh No overall control No overall control Details
Ballymena No overall control No overall control Details
Ballymoney No overall control No overall control Details
Banbridge UUP UUP Details
Belfast No overall control No overall control Details
Carrickfergus No overall control No overall control Details
Castlereagh No overall control No overall control Details
Coleraine UUP No overall control Details
Cookstown No overall control No overall control Details
Craigavon No overall control No overall control Details
Derry SDLP No overall control Details
Down SDLP SDLP Details
Dungannon No overall control No overall control Details
Fermanagh No overall control No overall control Details
Larne No overall control No overall control Details
Limavady No overall control No overall control Details
Lisburn UUP No overall control Details
Magherafelt No overall control No overall control Details
Moyle No overall control No overall control Details
Newry and Mourne SDLP No overall control Details
Newtownabbey No overall control No overall control Details
North Down No overall control No overall control Details
Omagh No overall control No overall control Details
Strabane No overall control No overall control Details

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rallings, Colin; Thrasher, Michael. Local Elections Handbook 1997 (PDF). Local Government Chronicle Elections Centre. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Council compositions". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Local Elections of 1 May 1997 - Parliament.uk" (PDF). researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/. Parliament UK. 27 Jun 1997. Retrieved 3 May 2019.