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In the United Kingdom, local elections look like a test for Rishi Sunak

The UK's ruling Conservative Party faces heavy losses à the occasion of local elections on Thursday, adding to this the pressure already weighing on us on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who is breaking records for unpopularity.

This election constitutes a major test a few months before the legislative elections for which the “Tories”, who have led the government for 14 years, are widely expected to lose against the Labor opposition.

Rishi Sunak said he wanted to organize the legislative elections in the second half of the year but heavy defeats on Thursday could push him to organize this national election earlier.

Thursday's elections are “a vital test” for the Prime Minister, explains political scientist Richard Carr. They will make it possible to “test his assertion that his plan is working” and to see if “voters still grant him a certain degree of credibility”, he told AFP.

According to polls, the Conservatives will lose around half of the seats they currently occupy at the local level.

The looks are particularly turned towards two conservative elected officials, Andy Street and Ben Houchen, in the West Midlands and the Tees Valley, in the center and north-east of England.

In the United Kingdom, local elections look like a test for Rishi Sunak

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attends a meeting at Bletchley Park (central England), November 2, 2023 © POOL – Joe Giddens

To the point that Rishi Sunak's short-term political future would depend on their re-election. Their victory could give Conservative MPs hope that Rishi Sunak can still turn things around before the legislative elections.

But in the British Parliament, some fear that a disastrous result could encourage conservative elected officials to try to replace Mr. Sunak before the national vote.

“If Andy Street and “Ben Houchen both lose, that's probably the end of the idea that Sunak can continue,” said Richard Carr, who works at Anglia Ruskin University.

“It remains to be seen whether this means that he rolls the dice for legislative elections or if he is overthrown.”

– Madness –

Infighting has undermined the “Tories” for years, with five Prime Ministers since the Brexit vote in 2016, of which three took place between July and October 2022.

According to British media, a group of Conservative MPs has prepared an entire program for a potential successor to Rishi Sunak in the event of massive losses this week.

Some observers consider this It would be madness for the Conservatives to unseat another leader when Rishi Sunak has provided some stability since replacing Liz Truss in October 2022.

In the United Kingdom, local elections look like a test for Rishi Sunak

British MP Liz Truss speaks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland on February 22, 2024 © AFP – Brendan Smialowski

Others think that the credibility of the party is already damaged and wonder if a final blow could not be attempted to prevent the announced landslide victory for Labor.

To trigger an internal party vote to remove Rishi Sunak, 52 MPs would need to submit letters of no confidence against him.

“I still expect Sunak to lead the Conservatives into the general election,” Richard Hayton, professor of political science at the University of Leeds, told AFP.

“But some MPs could seek to oppose him, which would further damage his reputation among the general public.”

Rishi Sunak, 43, was appointed by the Conservatives after Liz Truss's disastrous 49 days as government leader, during which his tax cuts failed financed have caused a crisis in the markets and caused the pound to fall.

Labour, led by Keir Starmer, is around 20 points ahead in most polls of opinion on the legislative elections.

More than 2,500 local elected officials are appearing on Thursday in England and Wales, as well as the Labor mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who is running for a third term. If he wins, it will be a record.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116