Heavy Local Election Losses for UK Conservatives as Labour Gains Momentum

Heavy Local Election Losses for UK Conservatives as Labour Gains Momentum

Article: LONDON (AP) – The Conservative Party in Britain suffered significant losses in local elections on Friday, increasing expectations that the Labour Party will regain power after 14 years in the upcoming general election.

Labour gained control of councils in England that they haven’t held for decades and triumphed in a special parliamentary by-election. If this trend continues in the general election, it could lead to one of the Conservatives’ most substantial defeats ever.

Despite the overall dismal results for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, he found relief in the Conservative mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, winning re-election. This victory may shield Sunak from any potential uprising within the Conservative Party.

For Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, the election results have been largely positive. However, in areas with substantial Muslim populations, such as Blackburn and Oldham, Labour candidates seemed to struggle due to the leadership’s strong pro-Israel stance in the Gaza conflict.

Significantly, Labour reclaimed the parliamentary seat of Blackpool South. This seat had been won by the Conservatives in the 2019 general election when former Prime Minister Boris Johnson made significant gains in Brexit-supporting regions.

In the by-election triggered by a Conservative lawmaker’s resignation following a lobbying scandal, Labour’s Chris Webb secured 10,825 votes against the Conservative runner-up’s 3,218. The 26% swing from Conservative to Labour was the third largest since World War II, suggesting a potential return to power for Labour for the first time since 2010.

Starmer visited Blackpool to congratulate Webb and called on Sunak to announce a general election. Sunak has the authority to set the date and has suggested it will be in late 2024.

John Curtice, a politics professor at the University of Strathclyde, stated that the Conservatives are losing roughly half of the seats they are defending, indicating one of their worst performances in local elections in the past 40 years.

By mid-afternoon Friday, with about half of the 2,661 seats counted, the Conservatives had lost 213 seats while Labour gained 92. Other parties, including the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, also made gains.

Labour succeeded in areas that heavily supported Brexit in 2016, such as Hartlepool and Thurrock, and even won in Rushmoor, a council where they had never previously succeeded.

The Conservatives’ best result was in Tees Valley, a traditional Labour stronghold before Brexit. However, Houchen’s vote share dropped nearly 20 percentage points to 54% from 2021.

Sunak, while congratulating Houchen on his victory, acknowledged “disappointing” results elsewhere. He warned the Labour Party that they need to win in Tees Valley to secure a general election victory.

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1 thoughts on “Heavy Local Election Losses for UK Conservatives as Labour Gains Momentum

  1. Pingback: Sunak's Struggle: Poor Election Results but No Sign of Rebellion - Esbecgroup

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