The local election campaigns produced mixed results as both Labour and the Conservatives failed to make significant gains into the other’s territory, while smaller parties made some breakthroughs.
Our head of public affairs Stuart Thomson comments on the results in PRWeek:
In public, the Conservatives will talk in balanced tones about the result. In private they will be massively celebrating seeing off the Corbyn challenge.
Labour’s ‘incremental gains’ will not win a General Election and these results show that the party has lost its momentum.
A grassroots, get-out-the-vote campaign is doubtless part of the answer but so are clear policies that people believe in and a leader that can unite, not divide.
A campaign should address weaknesses as well, and in failing to address anti-Semitism in his party, Corbyn has not only failed to deal with an important issue but has reinforced the belief of some that he lacks the strength of character to be Prime Minister.
A counter-intuitive approach to campaigning, expectation management and media engagement will only go so far in appealing to the electorate.
While Labour will point to some successes, it has suffered undoubted failures as well, not least in failing to take control of Barnet and losing Nuneaton and Bedworth in Warwickshire, and Derby.
To win in unexpected places may gather headlines but to lose in areas where a party needs to win if it is to be successful on a national level shows that something is wrong.
The Conservatives have a leader few people in their own party support, are split over Brexit, see Ministers resigning or being pushed out, and have failed over the Windrush scandal, to name just a few of their challenges.
But still they have held councils and seen off Labour.
There are many Labour supporters who won’t actively campaign for Corbyn, or even vote for him, but these elections have shown that he can motivate opponents, especially in London.
This could be the beginning of the end for Corbyn’s leadership once his own side see that he has taken them as far as he can.
The question will then be whether a quiet coup is possible or, more likely in the absence of one true heir, a bitter public feud ensues.
This article was first published in PRWeek.