UK: Conservatives suffer ‘tough’ losses in local elections
The Conservatives have suffered significant losses at Thursday’s local elections, losing almost 500 seats and control of 11 councils.
The party shed support to the Liberal Democrats in southern England, and lost key London councils to Labour.
The Tories also saw losses in Scotland, where the SNP won the most seats, and in Wales to a resurgent Labour. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it had been “tough” in some areas.
Sinn Féin is on track to win the most seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The party won the most first-preference votes, and has the largest number of candidates returned so far, with 18 of the 47 seats declared. More results are to follow on Saturday.
The results come after votes to elect 200 councils in England, Wales and Scotland, and the devolved Stormont assembly in Northern Ireland.
Johnson argued the results had been mixed overall.
Labour gains were more modest outside London, with limited breakthroughs for the party in its traditional heartlands in northern England.
With nearly all results in, Labour has gained 139 seats, with leader Sir Keir Starmer saying his party was “on track” to win the next general election.
But his day was overshadowed by news that police are investigating whether he breached COVID-19 rules at an event in Durham last year.
The BBC projects Labour would take 35 per cent of votes and the Tories 30 per cent, had all parts of Britain gone to the polls.
The projection gave Labour its biggest local election lead in a decade, and could lead to renewed criticism of Johnson within his own party.
The findings – based on the results declared so far from areas which voted on Thursday – put the Liberal Democrats on 19 per cent and other parties on 16 per cent.
In the BBC’s collection of key wards, the Conservative vote is down on average by seven points since 2018 in the south of England, compared to four points in both London and the Midlands and just two points in the North. (BBC)