MP Angela Smith says local election result shows two-party system is “no longer fit for purpose”

With Labour and the Conservatives suffering heavy losses around the country in this year’s local elections, MP Angela Smith said the votes show the two-party system is no longer fit for purpose.

The MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge said: “It’s over. We really saw a massive fragmentation of the votes, with independent candidates surging ahead in some parts of the country. “

Not so for Ms Smith’s husband Steve Wilson, who ran as an independent candidate in East Ecclesfield and received just 104 votes.

He quit Labour earlier this year, shortly after Ms Smith defected from Labour to Change UK. He had worked as a councillor in the ward since 2011.

Ms Smith said: “For the sake of ideology, a re-selected sitting councillor was dumped in favour of a Corbynista.”

Earlier this week Mr Wilson said he was forced out of the party when his re-selection was challenged, and with Change UK not registering in time for the local elections, he ran as an independent instead.

She believes that the reputational damage Labour suffered over the incident, combined with the vote itself, handed control of the ward over to the Lib Dems.

Labour has been rocked by defeats all around the country, with many seeing it as a comment on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and the party’s handling of Brexit.

Ms Smith said: “We went to bed at 11.30pm and I just had a few minutes looking at Twitter to see what was coming through.

“Gradually, we started to realise that something serious was happening. So we got up, made a cup of tea and stayed up until 3am because it was such an unbelievable night.”

In Barnsley, Labour suffered a 17.5% swing against them towards the Lib Dems, as they went on to lose seven seats.