Both the Guardian and the BBC show the same number of seats won for the council elections on the 4th of May, but give different figures for the change from the previous election. For example, the Guardian show +31 for the SNP but the BBC show -7.

What is the cause of this difference? If it is not simply an error, is one set of figures a more accurate portrayal of the change than the other?


1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, it's mainly because of boundary changes. The BBC are using notional figures, based on how many seats there would have been in 2013 if the boundaries had been the same then as they are now. This makes it look like the SNP lost 7 seats.

A direct comparison of numbers suggests that the SNP gained 6 seats.

This still differs from the number on the Guardian web page, and the values for the other parties don't tally either. Despite the page stating that all the results are in, it's possible that they're missing some of the later ones (for example the UKIP tally is short by 31 seats).

  • Thanks! Looking closer at the Wikipedia page for the whole UK suggests there were boundary changes in England as well - possibly explaining the difference for UKIP and the others.
    – BauerPower
    May 6, 2017 at 14:16

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