Several local Conservative candidates have criticised Boris Johnson’s leadership following the loss of several key council seats.
This morning it was confirmed that Labour had gained overall control of Wandsworth Council, historically former PM Margaret Thatcher’s “favourite London council”, held by the Conservatives since 1978.
Labour also won control of Westminster Council for first time since 1964’s creation.
Labour also control Barnet Council. This authority, which is not under Labour majority control but covers three constituencies that are Tories, has never been in Labour majority. This area has a high Jewish population and could be seen as a sign that the association between Labour and antisemitism under Jeremy Corbyn is slowly fading under Sir Keir Sternmer.
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However, outside of London Labour’s gains stalled, with the Conservatives making modest gains.
Polling expert Sir John Curtice offered his assessment earlier this morning, telling the BBC that Labour support outside the capital is in fact “down slightly” when compared with the 2018 locals.
While Labour are touting the current results as a “turning point”, Starmer will probably face internal backlash if the full results are less promising than expected.
John Mallinson, the Conservative leader of Carlisle City Council told the BBC this morning that he had “lost some very good colleagues” in yesterday’s election, and explained that he had personally found it “difficult to drag the debate back to local issues” during campaigning, as questions surrounding soaring prices soar and the “partygate” scandal emerged.
“I don’t think it was helping to get comments from people like George Eustice talking about people using value brands to ease their shopping bills. That just seems to have come over very patronising,” he went on.
“I think it is not just partygate, there is the integrity issue. Basically I just don’t feel people any longer have the confidence that the Prime Minister can be relied upon to tell the truth.”
He also went on to say it would be his “preference” for Conservative MPs to oust the prime minister.
Ravi Govindia, who was dismissed as Wandsworth council leader, said Politico that voters reported being generally content with local issues, but that “other events have clouded the judgement of people … consistently on the doorstep the issue of Boris Johnson was raised.” He also told Sky News that the scandal regarding Neil Parish MP watching porn on his phone in the Commons was raised on the doorstep.
More to come