Tags: uk election conservatives labour sunak starmer

UK's Governing Conservatives Suffer Big Losses in Local Elections as Labour Appears Headed for Power

UK's Governing Conservatives Suffer Big Losses in Local Elections as Labour Appears Headed for Power

Friday, 03 May 2024 02:01 AM EDT

LONDON (AP) — Britain's governing Conservative Party is suffering heavy losses as local election results pour in Friday, piling pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ahead of a U.K. general election in which the main opposition Labour Party appears increasingly likely to return to power after 14 years.

Labour won control of councils in England it hasn't held for decades and was successful in a special by-election for Parliament. Its only negative appears to have been in some areas with large Muslim populations where the party's candidates suffered as a result of leader Keir Starmer 's strongly pro-Israel stance in the conflict in Gaza.

Labour won Blackpool South, a long-time Labour seat in the northwest of England that went Conservative in the last general election in 2019, when then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a big victory. In the contest, triggered by the resignation of a Conservative lawmaker following a lobbying scandal, Labour’s Chris Webb secured 10,825 votes, 7,607 more than his second-placed Conservative opponent.

“This seismic win in Blackpool South is the most important result today," Starmer said. “This is the one contest where voters had the chance to send a message to Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives directly, and that message is an overwhelming vote for change."

Thursday’s elections were important in themselves, with voters deciding who will run many aspects of their daily lives, such as garbage collection, road maintenance and local crime prevention, in the coming years. But with a general election looming, they will be viewed through a national prism.

The results so far provide more evidence that Labour is likely to form the next government — and by quite a margin — and that Starmer will become prime minister. As of early Friday, with barely a quarter of the 2,661 seats up for grabs counted, the Conservatives were down 115 while Labour was up 60.

The results will roll in through Saturday. Sunak hopes he can point to successes, notably in several key mayoral races, to douse talk that the Conservative Party will change its leader again before the United Kingdom’s main election, which could take place as soon as next month.

Key to his survival could be the results of mayoral elections in Tees Valley in the northeast of England and in the West Midlands. The former is due Friday lunchtime and the latter on Saturday. Should Conservative mayors Andy Street and Ben Houchen hold on, he may win some respite from restive lawmakers in his party. Should both lose, he may face trouble. Labour's Sadiq Khan is expected to remain mayor of London when results are announced on Saturday..

Sunak could preempt any challenge by threatening to call a general election that has to take place before January 2025. He has the power to decide on the date and has indicated that it will be in the second half of 2024.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


GlobalTalk
Britain's governing Conservative Party is suffering heavy losses as local election results pour in Friday, piling pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ahead of a U.K. general election in which the main opposition Labour Party appears increasingly likely to return to power...
uk election conservatives labour sunak starmer
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2024-01-03
Friday, 03 May 2024 02:01 AM
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