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Local Election Chaos for the Conservatives

As local elections took place across the United Kingdom on the 2nd of May, the Conservative Party braced for heavy losses, with various prediction sites suggesting the Labour Party could make serious gains.

With the final results shared on Sunday, it became clear the Tories were about to endure one of their worst results for the last 40 years.

It is a significant blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, particularly following his remarks that the country does not want or need a general election.

More than 470 Tory councillors in the local authority elections lost their seats, with the party also losing 10 Police and Crime Commissioners to the Labour Party.

In Cumbria, a Conservative has held the position of Police and Crime Commissioner since its creation in 2012. However, the results of Thursday’s election found that Labour beat the Tories with a comfortable lead of 13,485 votes.

The Labour Party continued their gains in the mayoral elections, with Richard Parker clinching the Mayor of the West Midlands post from his Tory opponent, with a margin of just 1,508 votes. A damning result, especially as it was considered a Tory safe seat.

Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer called the victory “phenomenal”.

Sadiq Khan was also re-elected for an extraordinary third term as the Mayor of London, receiving 1,088,225 votes and claiming nine of the 14 constituencies across London.

The speech following his win was quickly disrupted by his opponent from the Britain First party who heckled him on stage, shouting: “Khan killed London.”

Mr Khan later said: “For the last eight years London has been swimming against the tide of a Tory government and now with a Labour party that is ready to govern again under Keir Starmer it is time for Rishi Sunak to give the public a choice.”

 

Keir Starmer continues his calls for the Prime Minister to call a general election.

While the Labour Party has many reasons to celebrate, there is some concern in Muslim communities about the party’s stance on the ongoing conflict in Gaza, losing the party critical votes. 

There is a consensus that Keir Starmer has failed to condemn Israel for its attacks on Gaza.

A YouGov survey from March 2024 concluded that a mere 14% of the British public believe the party’s response has been handled well, compared with 52% who say Starmer’s response has been poor.

“The last big test of public opinion”

These local elections have given the last pieces of valuable insight into what may unfold in the next general election, which will be taking place at some point this year.

National opinion polls hint that the next Prime Minister of the UK will be Keir Starmer, with the local election results emphasising this.

Despite clear Tory losses, the party did manage to retain Tees Valley in the mayoral race, a win described as “a huge achievement”, suggesting the Conservatives may still be in with a chance in a general election.

Speaking to the press on Monday, the Prime Minister said: “The result of the next general election isn’t a forgone conclusion.”

He continued: “Reflecting on it, I'm determined more than ever to demonstrate to the country that we are making progress… and we are going to deliver for them.”

 

Photo credit: AFP Photo / UK Parliament


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