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Cigarettes and tears as Labour count cost of row

By Tom Rayner, Political Correspondent
Through most of the night both Labour and the Conservatives said the result in Barnet was "too close to call", and unusually for local elections it was not expectation management.
The Conservatives knew they were facing a fight, but Labour knew the anti-Semitism row of recent months could cause the party serious problems in a borough which, according to the 2011 census, is home to 20% of the Jewish population of England and Wales.:: Local elections - the results as they happenIt would have only taken a swing of around 1.5% for Labour to take Barnet Council - held by the Conservatives since 1964, with the exception of a few years of no overall control.But that assumed Labour could hold all 30 of the seats it was defending.
Cigarettes and tears as Labour count cost of row

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Demonstrations in Parliament Square against anti-Semitism earlier this year
There were positives to take for both parties in the early declarations: turnout was up and in strongholds both were adding votes to their 2014 results.Labour's loss of a councillor in the super marginal ward of Hale at around 5.30am was a blow, but not a fatal one.That came at around 5.50am.:: LIVE: Labour falls short of breakthrough hopesA number of Labour campaigners and candidates had gathered outside for some fresh air as the sun was rising.Soon a number of them had turned to cigarettes. At least one was in tears.Word was filtering through that they had lost all three of the seats they were defending in West Hendon.In a game where the aim was to gain, they knew losses of that sort almost certainly meant the game was up.
Cigarettes and tears as Labour count cost of row

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Labour damaged by anti-Semitism in Barnet result
As more declarations came in it emerged the Conservatives had not only held onto control, but increased their majority.
So what happened?:: May survives local election test as UKIP collapsesThe leader of the Labour group in Barnet has absolutely no doubt: the anti-Semitism storm, and the party's handling of it, has cost Labour a winnable council.Councillor Barry Rawlings told Sky News he had seen impact of anti-Semitism on the Labour not just in the last few months, but in the last two years following comments made by former London mayor Ken Livingstone.
Cigarettes and tears as Labour count cost of row

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Jeremy Corbyn poses at a polling station after casting his vote
Of the 63 candidates Labour put forward in Barnet, 11 were Jewish and one was a rabbi, and Mr Rawlings believes at a local level the party is working hard on its relationship with the community.But in terms of the national leadership he was withering, saying it wasn't just Jewish voters who had been put off voting Labour, but non-Jewish voters too.:: Tories hold Kensington and Chelsea despite Grenfell anger"Inaction has made a difference. There hasn't been any clear action. There's been a lot of faffing around, but sometimes you have to just take action."I invite Jeremy Corbyn, and the National Executive Committee to come to Barnet and learn how well we work with the Jewish community here."The Conservative leader of the council, Richard Cornelius, was also clear the results in Barnet were an example of a local election determined by a national issue.
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"Labour worked really hard to try and take the last blue Conservative council in North London, but we're still here," he said."Any party that fails to deal with a problem like that isn't fit for national or local leadership."
news.sky.com
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