The key areas Labour has taken from Tories ‘history made’
Local elections: Burley grills Shabana Mahmood MP on results
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently facing an angry backlash from local Tories as the party has seen key London strongholds fall to Labour while also suffering a number of other losses in councils across England. As the first local election since the emergence of partygate as well as dire cost of living pressures, it was due to be a test for Conservative leadership – but by just how much?
Polling stations across Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and parts of England closed at 10pm on Thursday in the 200 local authorities holding elections.
However, overnight vote counts in more than half of the councils in England have seen Tory losses creeping into triple digits.
So far, results in England have been largely positive for Labour, with the party increasing its number of seats by 34, while the Tories have dropped 122.
Senior figures in the Scottish Conservatives told The Times they are expecting “heavy losses” due to the partygate saga, which saw the Prime Minister, his wife and Chancellor Rishi Sunak fined by police.
Conservative MP David Simmonds said Mr Johnson has “difficult questions” to answer, having promised to take responsibility for the election results.
Mr Simmonds told the BBC: “Overwhelmingly the message that I heard on the doorsteps was people were broadly positive about the Government’s policies but they are not happy about what they have been hearing about partygate.”
“He (Mr Johnson) said ‘I will take full responsibility for these election results’ and I think he needs to confront that question now.”
Labour has pulled some historic victories out of the bag this morning, but just how many councils have they won over so far? Express.co.uk will keep you updated here.
Described as the Tory ‘crown jewel’, Wandsworth has been a hugely symbolic victory for Labour so far.
Famously known as Margaret Thatcher’s favourite Tory council, the Conservatives have maintained leadership here for 44 years.
Mayor Sadiq Khan has proclaimed: “This is history being made.”
Ravi Govindia admitted people in the southwest London borough raised the Prime Minister’s leadership during the campaign.
He said: “Inevitably other events have clouded the judgement of people in Wandsworth”, despite saying he had done “exactly what the residents of Wandsworth wanted.”
He continued: “To find that counts for nothing is a sad reflection of the importance of local government not being recognised.”
Westminster has been Tory-led for 58 years, but this local election has seen another victory for the Labour party.
Labour overturned a Tory majority of 22 seats, but this didn’t come as too much of a surprise for Labour.
According to Politico, Barnet Council has been billed as Labour’s top target.
Having never received a Labour majority, Barnet has now seen a Labour victory.
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Barnet flipping to Labour is seen by strategists as a sign that Sir Keir Starmer has “regained the trust of Jewish voters” as the party has worked to counter allegations of anti-Semitism.
Barnet is believed to have the largest Jewish electorate in the UK, with 15 percent of residents identifying themselves as Jewish in recent censuses.
Jonathan Carr-West, the chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), said with around half of the councils declared, the “most dramatic” were in the capital.
He said Labour taking control of Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster council “has huge symbolic value and losing all three of these councils in a single election will be a big blow to the Conservative morale”.
Labour has snapped up overall control of Southampton City Council after losing to the Tories last year.
Councillor Satvir Kaur, the new Labour leader on Southampton City Council, said the cost of living crisis and a rise in crime across the city were the key factors behind the results.
She said city residents were struggling with rising costs and the stories she heard on the doorstep were “heart-breaking”.
“They want the Government to do more and feel as that they can, but they are choosing not to. The trust in Boris Johnson has completely dissipated,”
Conservative MP David Simmonds said confidence may be restored in the Government through a change in leader.
The MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner said the Conservative Party must ensure it is acting “in the interests of the country” – and this is “far more important than any one individual prime minister”.
Mr Simmonds said Mr Johnson pledged he would take “full responsibility” for the local election results, and he “needs to address that”.
“He needs to find a way to restore confidence in the Government and I think there’s a number of ways he might do that,” he said.
“A change of leader would be one of them. Alternatively, he needs to demonstrate what the alternative plan would be.”
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