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United Kingdom: ruling Conservatives suffer massive electoral setback

The massive electoral setback for the ruling British Conservative Party has deepened. Saturday, the latest results of the local elections confirming the large victory of Labor, notably in London where Sadiq Khan won a third term, in this election in the form of a final test before the legislative elections in a few months.

In the British capital, Sadiq Khan was re-elected largely with 43.8% of the votes for a historic third term, against conservative Susan Hall (32.7%).

He said he was “honored” and “proud” and said he hoped that this year “will be a year of great change” with “a future Labor government”.

Already on Friday, the first results showed that the Tories in power for 14 years were going to experience their worst defeat in 40 years for a local election, during which voters were called to vote for a partial legislative election – won by Labor – and to renew some of the thousands of local elected officials in England and Wales, as well as eleven mayors.

The Labor opposition's substantial gains boost its hopes that its leader Keir Starmer will arrive in Downing Street after general elections later this year.

“Today we are celebrating the beginning of a page being turned, one of the last steps before the legislative elections,” Keir Starmer said on Saturday in Mansfield in the East Midlands where he was celebrating the election of Labor mayor Clare Ward.

“Let's turn the page on decline and launch national renewal with Labor”, he added, promising in particular to rebuild the adrift health system, after having called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak the day before to call legislative elections.

However, Rishi Sunak, who faces divisions in his ranks, again defended on Saturday its policy, in particular its plan to expel migrants to Rwanda or its tax cuts.

United Kingdom: ruling Conservatives suffer massive electoral setback

A member of the nationalist and populist Reform UK party in Blackpool, northwest England on May 2, 2024 © AFP – Oli SCARFF

“Labor did not win in places where they admitted they had to win” to obtain a majority at the end of the next legislative elections. “Only the Conservatives have a plan” for the country, he assured in a column published in the conservative newspaper The Telegraph.

In total, Labor has gained more than 180 seats and will lead eight additional local councils, while the Conservatives lost more than 470 seats and lost control of at least ten local councils.

The rise to power of Reform UK, a nationalist and populist party, founded by Brexit champion Nigel Farage, is also cause for concern among the Conservatives, who could lose votes to them during the legislative elections.

All is not rosy either for Labor, which notably lost voters due to its position considered by some of its voters to be too pro -Israeli in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

– Little enthusiasm –

He benefited more from “a desire (of voters) to beat the conservatives” than from an “enthusiasm” towards him, while participation remained low (less than 30% in most local elections), said John Curtice, professor of political science.

However, “nothing in these results disturbs the long-held impression that Labor is on track to win the next legislative elections”, according to him.

Besides London, Labor has at this stage won ten of the eleven municipal elections which were held in several large cities in the country, such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds or Sheffield (South Yorkshire), but also in the metropolitan area of ​​York and North Yorkshire, where the Prime Minister's constituency is located.

While the count is still underway in the hotly contested West Midlands (Birmingham), the Conservatives must be content with a single victory for the moment, with the re-election of the Conservative mayor of Tees Valley (east), Ben Houchen, announced Friday.

Rishi Sunak ran to congratulate him, seeing it as a sign that the Conservatives can still turn things around before the legislative elections.

This victory is proof that “the conservatives keep their promise”, he declared, praising in particular the success of several economic projects, and saying he was convinced that voters “will also remain faithful” to the conservatives during the legislative elections .

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