As the general Election results stand, the Conservatives have 305 seats, the Labour Party 258 seats; the Liberal Democrats have 57 seats with others sweeping up 29 of the remaining 30 seats and one left to declare.
Even though it has resulted in a hung parliament this, in the eyes of many commentators, represents a huge swing to the Conservatives. But one part of the electoral picture has been almost totally ignored and that is the results of the concurrent council elections that took place across much of the country.
Far from voters pouring more pain on the incumbent government, the local elections resulted in the Labour Party consolidated its position by gaining eight councils and some 240 seats. In contrast the Tories lost out to some eight councils and the LibDems lost two.
That gives Labour control over 166 authorities and this includes all 32 London boroughs. Labour supporters also surprised even themselves when they took control of Oxford, Enfield, Hartlepool, Coventry, Doncaster and Liverpool.
Given the extremely low starting point for Labour after the drubbing they got at the 2006 local elections they had expected to make some gains even given the general low level of support for Labour. Most people expected the ‘Cleggmania’ of the Leaders’ debates to filter through to the local level and a swing to the LibDems was expected.
Other losers include the BNP who lost 22 seats and UKIP who lost five seats.
One rider to all this however is the question of local election fraud. On the run up to the day reports were emerging of one or two Labour councillors stuffing the electoral role with phantom voters. There are, worryingly, more than e few police enquiries into this matter.
For the first time in our voting history, a group of Commonwealth observers came to witness how the elections were conducted. Their appraisal of our system should make us sit up and listen. They were quite surprised that the elections were conducted purely on the basis of trust. In that the person handing out the voting slips was, under the current system, forced to take your identity at face value. Some assessments put the UK electoral system as potentially one of the most corruptible in the world.
It has been reported that the Tories came within a whisker of just 16,000 votes of gaining a commons majority. With the stakes so high and electoral fraud already detected we need to overhaul the system.
Most calls for reform seem to centre on proportional representation. I would argue that the first thing we need to do is reform is the mechanics of the system to make it more secure. Or how else can we really trust any future election or referendum?