UK’s Conservatives suffer historic losses in local elections – DW – 05/04/2024

Britain’s Labour Party urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to call a general election after his governing Conservative Party suffered heavy losses in local elections in England.

The Tories lost around half the seats they contested. In contrast, Labour won councils that the party hasn’t held for decades, regional mayorships, and a special election for the Blackpool South seat in parliament.

“Here in Blackpool, a message has been sent directly to the prime minister,” Labour leader Keir Starmer said. “This was directly to Rishi Sunak to say we are fed up with your decline, your chaos and your division and we want change,” Starmer added.

Sunak defiant over chances in general election

Sunak has the power to decide the general election date, but it must be held before January 28 next year at the latest.

He struck a defiant note after the Conservative Ben Houchen won re-election as the mayor of the northern region of Tees Valley.

“Come a general election, [voters] are going to stick with us too,” Sunak said.

The chairman of the Conservative Party, Richard Holden, said it had been “a tough night.”

Starmer said the polls showed a desire for changeImage: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

National polls suggest Labour is 20 percentage points ahead of the Conservatives in terms of general election choices.

According to the BBC, if replicated in a nationwide contest, the initial tallies suggested Labour would win 34 percent of the vote, with the Tories trailing by nine points.

Sky News’ projection for a general election using the partial results would see Labour become the largest party but short of an overall majority.

London Mayor to be announced

Results will continue to come in over the weekend, including the key mayoral contest in London, where Labour’s Sadiq Khan hopes to be re-elected.

Elsewhere, the centrist Liberal Democrats and the Green Party also made gains, as did Reform UK, which is trying to take voters from the Conservatives on the right.

Yet there seems to be no apparent moves amongst Tories to replace Sunak, which at this point would barely be possible in time for an election campaign.

Sunak has previously said he was eyeing a vote in the “second half of 2024.”

lo/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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