Worst Tory defeat in 40 years: local electionspreliminary results

Author London Cult.
Category Columnists, Town
Date May 4 2024
Reading Time 3 min.

Worst Tory defeat in 40 years: local electionspreliminary results

Labour celebrates victory! According to preliminary results of the 2024 local elections, they have managed to overcome the Tory’s decade-long dominance in key areas of England, which some have called “truly historic” political changes. The first winners began to be announced as early as 7 a.m. today, with the vote counting set to conclude on May 4th.

The election results paint a picture of a revitalised Labour Party, securing victories even in those city councils that have long been considered bastions of Tory support. However, the most striking success was achieved in Hartlepool, a city where Labour suffered a major defeat in the 2021 by-elections, leading to speculationsabout the effectiveness of Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership. Now, the Conservatives have lost control of the council.

Similarly, in Thurrock (Essex), known for its strong pro-Brexit stance, where 72.3% of voters supported this decision in 2016, Labour also achieved significant success. This victory has been hailed by party members as decisive for future general election prospects. It is worth noting that Brexit played a significant role in the elections: all six areas where Labour succeeded predominantly voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum. Now, the change in voter sentiment is evident!

Labour also replaced the Tories as the largest party in the Peterborough council, where the Conservatives lost 13 out of 16 seats. Northeast Lincolnshire also slipped from their control: Labour secured 5 seats, but neither party gained a majority here.

However, there are areas where Labour’s support has weakened, especially in traditional electoral districts with significant Muslim populations. Critics believe that such failures are linked to the party’s stance on the Gaza conflict. Cases such as losing control in Oldham and the rise of the Greens in Newcastle indicate a more complex electoral landscape than just a simple rivalry with the Tories. Additionally, Labour suffered expected defeats in the West Midlands and Tees Valley, where mayoral posts were won by Tory candidates, despite positive preliminary poll results for Labour.

Nevertheless, key figures in the Labour Party remain optimistic about the party’s prospects in future elections. Shadow Environment Secretary Steve Reed noted the significance of the results, emphasizing that they reflect people’s desire for change and promise good chances in the upcoming general election. Of particular note is the fact that during the local elections, Labour gained a new Member of Parliament. Chris Webb will become the new MP for Blackpool South, replacing former Conservative member Scott Benton.

The Conservatives themselves are understandably concerned about the defeats. Party Chairman Richard Holden admitted that it was a “disappointing night,” but attributed the losses to natural fluctuations in midterm elections. However, political analyst Professor Michael Thrasher completely rejected such arguments: “[This] is very bad news for the Conservatives because their general election victory in 2019 was built on winning the support of people who had strongly voted Leave in the [EU] referendum.” And now Brexit supporters are no longer voting for the Tories: some are shifting to Labour, and some to Reform UK. Nevertheless, the undeniable fact remains: the Conservatives have suffered a devastating defeat, according to some experts, the most severe in the last 40 years.

It is worth noting that the losses for the Conservatives were not only in favour of Labour. The Liberal Democrats and the Greens also made gains. Reform UK (formerly the Brexit Party), led by Richard Tice, managed to pose a serious challenge to the Tories, especially in areas where pro-Brexit sentiments are still strong. Averaging between 14 and 15% of the vote, Reform UK in some places pushed the Conservatives into third place.

As for London, where the mayoral election is closely watched across the country, the results are expected on Saturday during the day or evening. But most polls already predict a victory for Sadiq Khan over the Conservative candidate Susan Hall: some say Khan is ahead by 22 points, some by 10. Moreover, the fact of Sadiq Khan’s victory and the third place for the Liberal Democrat candidate are already seen by many as a fait accompli. So, if the forecasts prove correct, London will get the same mayor for the third time.

As the dust settles in the halls of the local elections, it seems that significant changes are in store for the political landscape of England and Wales. Public sentiments are shifting, and there are reasons to believe that British politics faces an unpredictable future.

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