Conservatives also make gains while Ukip come close.
Labour strengthened their grip on Birmingham city council in Thursday’s local elections, although they fell well short of the type of gains they will need in order to be confident of forming a government in 2015. Winning three seats from the Lib Dems and another from Respect saw an overall improvement in the number of councillors the party hold but they will be disappointed to have lost seats in Kingstanding and Kings Norton, where cabinet minister Steve Bedser was defeated, to the Tories.
Nationally the big story of the night was Ukip’s strong showing in the polls but their performance in Birmingam was patchy. Their biggest success was in Shard End, where they came within 37 votes of capturing a previously safe Labour seat.
The major parties were all publicly claiming success, while doubtless remaining privately worried about the effect Ukip will have in future years. The Labour administration will take heart that they increased what was already a comfortable majority on the city council despite the controversies they have endured over the garden tax and childrens services. The Conservatives will be relieved to have increased the number of seats they hold and while on the surface it was a poor night for the Lib Dems they will be heartened by their good showing in the Yardley constituency of MP John Hemming, where they held all four seats they were defending.
Final state of the parties: Labour 77, Conservative 31, Lib Dem 12.