The Liberal Democrats have lost overall control of Bristol City Council following the local elections yesterday, as the party nationally suffered their worst performance since the 1980s.
The party lost five of its 38 seats last night to leave it with 33 overall, three short of the 36 required for an overall majority.
Labour gained the most from yesterday’s poll, winning four extra seats at the expense of the Lib Dems, and leaving it with 21 overall in the city authority. The Conservatives remained static with 14 seats across Bristol.
Meanwhile, the Green Party have been celebrating after Gus Hoyt won the Ashley ward seat, vacated by ‘coconut row’ Lib Dem councillor Shirley Brown.
Mr Hoyt, a vocal critic of the violence and police tactics during the recent riots in Stokes Croft over the controversial Tesco store on Cheltenham Road – part of his new ward – won more than 42% of the vote, pushing young Lib Dem candidate Waliur Rahman into second place with just 27%.
Overall, Labour won the share of the vote across Bristol with just under 36%. The Lib Dems were second with 24.9%, the Conservatives third with 20.1% and the Greens polling 14.4%.
For a full breakdown of the results, and to find out who your new councillor is, click here for the official Bristol City Council results service…
The focus in Bristol will now be over who will take control of the council chamber. The Lib Dems have been in overall control of the city since 2009, and could choose to run a minority administration or do a deal with one of the other parties to form a city coalition.
It will be tough times ahead for council leader Barbara Janke, as the party nationally deals with the crushing blow it has received.
The party lost swathes of council seats in former strongholds in the north of England receiving their lowest share of the vote for 30 years.
The Lib Dems lost control of major councils including Hull and Stockport, while in Manchester every sitting councillor who stood for election lost their seat. They also lost ground heavily in the Liverpool and significantly in Mr Clegg’s constituency city of Sheffield.
As the scale of the losses became apparent, the party president, Tim Farron, was forced to admit it had been an “unpleasant night”.
With counting in the AV referendum not due to get under way later today, the Lib Dems were left licking their wounds and praying for a victory for the Yes vote campaign.
As the electorate went to the polls a bitter war of words between the coalition partners broke out.
Former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown accused Prime Minister David Cameron of a “breach of faith” by allowing the largely Conservative-funded No campaign to turn their fire on Mr Clegg.
“You cannot fund a deeply vicious campaign to destroy the personality of your partner, who has been unmoved in his brave support of the coalition, without there being consequences,” Lord Ashdown said.