All five metropolitan boroughs in Tyne and Wear went to the polls yesterday, with a third of seats in each borough up for grabs. That's the Labour-controlled Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside councils, plus North Tyneside where there was previously no overall control and Newcastle which had a Lib Dem majority since 2004.
The big story is that Labour now has a majority in Newcastle, which I predicted HERE. Newcastle is one of a number of significant switches from Lib Dem to Labour in northern cities, reflecting the massive turn against the Lib Dems in what had traditionally been Labour areas.
Disillusioned ex-Labour supporters who voted Lib Dem in recent years have emphatically returned to Labour. This is clearly prompted by disgust at the role of Nick Clegg's party in a right-wing government. It is the backlash against cuts.
Labour now has a majority in North Tyneside too, making enough gains to shift it from no overall control. The party therefore has majorities in all five local councils.
In Labour-controlled councils the party made further gains, with net increases of 4 seats in Sunderland, 3 in South Tyneside and 4 in Gateshead. My own area of Gateshead sums up the deep crisis for Lib Dems locally: they were defending 5 seats, but only held one.
There isn't a single Tory on Gateshead Council, so across 22 wards the coalition parties won just one seat yesterday. Across all five boroughs the Tories and Lib Dems have been soundly defeated and marginalised.