2023 local elections: Labor looks to power after crushing Conservative losses

  • Joshua Nevett
  • BBC politics

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Watch: Local elections in England… in less than 60 seconds

Labor leader Sir Care Sturmer has said his party is on track to win the next general election after the Tories swept the country in local elections across the country.

The Conservative Party lost 48 councils and over 1,000 council members, exceeding the worst projections.

Labor now says it has overtaken the Tories as the largest party in local government for the first time since 2002.

A Labor spokesperson said: “The British public clearly rejected a prime minister who was not given the mandate in the first place.”

Elections to England’s 230 parliament are the first major test of Mr Sunak’s electoral vote since he won the Tory leadership election last October and took office as prime minister.

The Liberal Democrats had what leader Sir Ed Davey described as “the best result in decades”. Rule 12 Councilsmainly in Tory Hartland.

Greens win 241 seats It had its best-ever results in the local elections, winning its first majority in the British Parliament in central Suffolk, but was overtaken by Labor as the largest party in Brighton and Hove.

Sunak conceded that the results were “disappointing” but said he had detected no “massive surge in movement towards the Labor Party”.

Sir Kiel argued that the “excellent” results showed his party well-positioned to oust the Tories from government in the general elections scheduled for next year.

“Without a doubt, we are well on our way to winning a Labor majority in the next general election,” said a supporter at Medway in Kent, one of the councils his party wrested from the Conservatives. told to

‘Far from disaster’

Labor gained control of parliament in key battlegrounds in the general election, including Medway, Swindon, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and East Staffordshire.

Nationally, the BBC predicted 35% of the vote for Labor, 26% for the Conservatives and 20% for the Liberal Democrats.

Labor’s projected 9-point lead has eclipsed the Conservatives in this measure since the party lost power in 2010.

Poll expert Sir John Curtis said this year’s results were “far from disaster for the Conservatives”.

But the BBC’s political editor Chris Mason said the results suggested that neither Conservatives nor Labor would be confident of winning a majority in the next general election.

After the Tories sacked two prime ministers, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, last year, Mr Sunak seemed unwilling to speak out, he said.

Still, some Conservatives are reeling from the election result, with expelled MPs and Sunak critics venting their anger on the prime minister.

As the picture unfolded, there was disagreement among the Tories about who should be held responsible for the loss of so many MPs.

The election came amid dire economic conditions in the UK, with high inflation leading to the worst cost of living crisis in decades.

A source loyal to Mr Johnson and Mr Truss told the BBC that Mr Sunak “had no choice but to own these results”.

In an agitated statement, the person said, “He’s been Prime Minister or Prime Minister for virtually all of the past three years, and he and his supporters have forced Boris and Liz to resign and installed him in Downing Street.

“The old adage is that it’s the economy that defines the choices voters have at the ballot box, stupid.”

In Swindon, where Labor took control of the Borough Council for the first time in 20 years, ousted Tory parliamentary leader David Leonard said of his party’s local predicament, “The cost of living and the government over the past 12 months have been very difficult. ‘s achievements”.

Leonard said the prime minister “started to stabilize things” but that for Swindon voters “what happened before that was something they didn’t like”.

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David Leonard, former council chairman of Swindon who lost his seat

Tees Valley Conservative Mayor Ben Hochen said the Tories’ underperformance was partly a result of “the turmoil and upheaval of the past 12 months”.

He said Labor had “succeeded in making this a government referendum”, adding that “people don’t feel they can vote for us”.

Former Tory MP Nigel Churchill, who lost his seat in Plymouth Council, another Labor target, said he “thinks it’s safe to say” the Conservatives will lose the next general election.

“At the moment, the public doesn’t trust them,” he said.

But Education Minister Robert Halfon said this year’s local elections will always be “difficult” for his party.

He said divisions within the party had “not helped”, but argued that the losses were due to external factors such as the cost of living crisis and NHS problems.

“All interim governments, especially those that have been in power for 13 years, consistently lose in local elections,” he said.

Other Tory MPs told the BBC that apathy (conservative voters staying at home) was also a big problem for the party.

Summary of key results:

  • labor It gained 536 members and 22 councils. This includes the key battlefields of Swindon, Plymouth, Medway and Stoke-on-Trent, where the party hopes to succeed in the next general election.
  • conservatives Losing 1,061 councilors and 48 councils, but gaining control of Torbay and Wyre Forest.
  • LDP Gained 12 councils and 405 councilors, including former Conservative strongholds in Windsor and Maidenhead and Stratford-on-Avon
  • almost 250 green Councilors were elected and the party won its first-ever majority in the Council of Mid Suffolk.

The Conservatives will try to manage expectations ahead of Thursday’s election, with party chairman Greg Hands suggesting they could lose 1,000 seats.

By contrast, Labor tried to downplay any chance of success by predicting an increase of about 400 seats.

Few seats were left in the 2019 election as political turmoil over Brexit swept the UK.

Seats were won primarily by district councils responsible for services such as garbage collection, parks, public housing and planning applications.

The remaining elections were for a mix of metropolitan and unitary councils (a single municipality that handles all local services) and four mayors.

The election was the first in England to have voter ID verification at polling stations. Some voters told his BBC he had been barred from polling stations and called on critics to scrap ID rules.

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