Local elections 2023: Leeds council election results and live updates as votes counted and winners declared
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The polls closed at 10pm on Thursday night after the first local elections in England since new rules were introduced requiring everyone voting in person to produce photographic ID. While some councils held their counts overnight and have declared their results, Leeds City Council’s count began at 10am on Friday.
A third of the council’s 99 seats are being contested this year – that’s one seat in each of the council’s 33 wards. The candidates elected will serve their respective wards for a four-year term. Results are also due to be announced for three town councils – Horsforth, Morley and Otley.
Follow our live blog below and refresh the page for the latest updates from the count at the First Direct Arena, including the results as they are announced.
Leeds council election results 2023 - the latest news from the count
Who’s in the running this year?
A third of Leeds City Council’s 99 seats – one in each of the 33 wards across the city – are being contested this year. The candidate who receives the most votes in each ward will be elected to serve an initial four-year term on the council.
The outcome of the elections will be crucial in defining the council’s political makeup for the next 12 months. Labour is the current ruling party, as it holds 56 of the 99 seats. The rest are held by the opposition parties, including the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Morley Borough Independents, Green Party, Garforth and Swillington Independents and the SDP.
When are results likely to be declared?
The count is taking place at the First Direct Arena in Leeds from 10am. Counts for 20 of the wards will take place between 10am and 1pm, with the votes cast in the remaining 13 wards to be counted from 2pm onwards.
Based on previous years, the first results are likely to be declared between 11.30am and noon. The final results are expected by 5pm.
The three town councils where votes were cast
Voters in some parts of Leeds were choosing candidates for both the city council and their local town councils yesterday. Elections have been held for the town councils serving Otley, Morley and Horsforth, with the results of those votes also due to be declared this afternoon.
First pictures from the count
Our reporter Charles Gray is at the First Direct Arena where the count is now under way. He’s shared these pictures:
Which votes are currently being counted?
As you may be able to see from the photos below, there are 20 counting tables in total - each looking after the results for a specific ward. The wards currently being counted are:
- Beeston & Holbeck
- Bramley & Stanningley
- Burmantofts & Richmond Hill
- Calverley & Farsley
- Chapel Allerton
- Cross Gates & Whinmoor
- Farnley & Wortley
- Garforth & Swillington
- Gipton & Harehills
- Headingley & Hyde Park
- Hunslet & Riverside
- Kippax & Methley
- Middleton Park
- Temple Newsam
In the afternoon session, the teams will be counting the results for:
- Adel & Wharfedale
- Ardsley & Robin Hood
- Guiseley & Rawdon
- Horsforth Town Council (Broadfields & Brownberrie & Woodside wards)
- Horsforth Town Council (Hall Park & Victoria wards)
- Killingbeck & Seacroft
- Little London & Woodhouse
- Morley North
- Morley Town Council (Churwell & Scatcherd wards)
- Morley South
- Morley Town Council (Central & Woodkirk wards)
- Morley Town Council (Topcliffe ward)
- Otley & Yeadon
- Otley Town Council (Ashfield & Danefield wards)
- Otley Town Council (Manor, Prince Henry & West Chevin wards)
Live report from the count
Our reporter Charles Gray is chatting to local democray reporter David Spereall about this year’s election and what we might expect from the results. Head over to our Facebook page to watch the video.
What voters had to say in one of the city’s key battlegrounds
Local democracy reporter David Spereall has spoken to voters in the Guiseley and Rawdon ward, an area of the city that has become a key battleground between Labour and the Conservatives. It was traditionally a safe Conservative area, but Labour managed to take one of its three seats last year for the first time since 2002.
And the views of those who popped into Guiseley Baptist Church on Thursday morning to cross their ballot papers reflect the local split in political opinion. For Gary Collins, 64, a mixture of old habits and the current state of the nation informed his choice. “I’ve always voted Labour,” Gary, who is bravely donning shorts on a chilly day, says. “With what’s going on at the moment, everything’s just gone to pieces. I could never vote Conservative.”
Young mother Ruby, who’s lived in Guiseley for five years, is also on the red side of political divide. “I really like the Labour councillor that we’ve got here,” she says. “She’s doing a really good job, so we need more of her.”
Married couple Paul and Elizabeth Waddingham each voted differently, although neither backed Labour. “You get sick of the same old parties,” says Paul, who voted for the Yorkshire Party for the first time. “Leeds (in the city centre) looks like a bomb site at the moment under Labour, so that’s why I changed my vote.”
Elizabeth voted Conservative. “I’ve always liked the Conservative Party,” she explains. “They’re much not much cop now, but Keir Starmer’s a waste of time.”
New voter ID rule divides opinion
This year’s local elections was the first where voters needed to produce valid photo ID following a change in the law, writes local democracy reporter David Spereall.
The move has been criticised by some campaign groups and parties, who’ve claimed it will hit voter turnout and discourage people from engaging with politics. However, a lot of the voters at Guiseley Baptist Church yesterday seemed comfortable with the new arrangement, regardless of which party they support.
“It’s been well publicised I think,” Conservative voter Angela said. “I’m quite happy they’ve changed the law. I’m surprised they’ve not done it before to be honest.” Angela said her choice of party was partially influenced by the track record of incumbent Tory councillor Paul Wadsworth, who is trying to defend the seat this year. “I’ve stuck with what I know,” she said. “It’s better the devil you know with Labour. I just feel they may be a bit more profligate with things.”
Angela’s views on voter ID were shared by Michael Routh, but he did not share her choice of party. “On local issues Labour seem a little more interested,” Michael said, explaining his support. “Their candidate came to the door and we had a good conversation. The Conservative candidate didn’t. That made a difference.”
Steve Watson is one of those who objects to the new ID requirement, however. “It’s unnecessary,” he said. “There’s no evidence of voter fraud and I think it could be the thin end of the wedge with ID cards coming next.” He was reluctant to say which party he voted for at this election, but said he backed a “local candidate in spite of their politics”.
“It’s important a councillor lives locally,” he said. “I don’t see how someone who doesn’t live in Guiseley or Yeadon can represent you on local issues. I’m concerned about speeding along this road (Oxford Road) for example. If they have a similar problem where they live, how do you know they won’t prioritise that?”
How the picture is looking nationally
Early results for local elections in England have signalled a shift as Labour and Liberal Democrats gain seats while the Conservatives take big losses. It’s the first real test for Rishi Sunak since he became Prime Minister in 202, so these results will be used as an indicator as to his popularity in the role.
A number of councils in other areas of the country held their counts overnight so we’ve already started to get a picture of how things are shaping up for the major parties. The first big gain of the night went to Labour, who took control in Plymouth, a place where no party had previously secured a majority. Labour also won the seat in Stoke-on-Trent. Lib Dems also saw gains in Brentwood, Essex where they won two seats from the Tories. This means the Conservative party no longer has a majority in the council chamber.
Follow our local election results tracker for the national picture as more results are declared throughout the day.
First results likely soon
Our reporter Charles Gray is at the count and will be taking over on blog duties shortly as we’re expecting the first of the results to be announced soon. He’d been given an original estimate of 11.45am and activity on the floor of the arena suggests we may not have long to wait now.
We’ll be sharing the results here as we get them throughout the day, with the last of the results expect by around 5pm.