UK’s governing Conservatives set for historic losses in local polls as Labour urges general election

The Conservative Party, which is currently in power in Britain, suffered heavy losses at local elections on Friday. This further confirms expectations that Labour will be returning to power in the UK in the next few months in a general election.

Labour has won back control of councils it had not held in England for decades. They also won a by-election to the Parliament, which, if repeated at the next general election, could lead to the Conservatives suffering one of their biggest defeats ever.

Rishi Sunak was relieved to see that the Conservative mayor in Tees Valley, northeast England, was reelected, even though the vote was very low. Sunak may not be affected by any Conservative legislator revolt due to the victory of Ben Houchen who ran an extremely personal campaign.

Keir starmer, Labour Party leader has had a generally stellar year. The only negatives are in areas with a large Muslim population, like Blackburn and Oldham, in north-west England, where some of the candidates have appeared to suffer as a consequence of Keir’s pro-Israel stance during the Gaza conflict.


The most important thing to note in light of the impending general election that must take place in January, but could happen as early as next month is that Labour has won back Blackpool South, a parliamentary seat in northwest England which was lost by the Conservatives at the last general elections in 2019 when the then-Prime Minster Boris Johnson had made significant gains in Brexit-supporting areas of the country.

The contest was triggered by a Conservative legislator’s resignation following a scandal involving lobbying. Labour’s Chris Webb won 10,825 votes to his Conservative opponent’s 2,218. The swing of 26% from Conservatives to Labour was the third largest since World War II. This would be enough for the party to return to power, the first since 2010.

Starmer visited Blackpool in order to congratulate Webb for his success. He also urged Sunak, who was then present at the event, to call an election. Sunak is the one who can decide the date, and he has said that the election will take place in the second half 2024.

He said: “This is directly to Rishi to tell him that we are tired of your decline, chaos, and division. We want change.”

The elections held in England on Thursday were significant in and of themselves. Voters decided who would run their lives in the future, including garbage collection, road maintenance, and local crime prevention. With a general elections looming they are being seen through a national lens.

John Curtice is a professor of political science at the University of Strathclyde. He said that the Conservatives have lost around half of their seats.

He told BBC radio that “we are looking at one of, if we don’t say the worst, Conservative performance in local government election for the past 40 years.”

By Friday lunchtime, Labour had gained 61 seats and the Conservatives had lost 136. The Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, both centrist parties, are also making gains. Reform U.K. can also boast of a set of successful election results even though it only contested a small number of council seats. In Blackpool South where the party was only 200 votes away from second place, it was clear that they were a threat to Conservatives.

Labour won in areas where Johnson had previously defeated it, including Hartlepool, in northeast England, and Thurrock, in southeast England. The Labour Party also won Rushmoor in southern England, a leafy council with a military bent.

The Conservatives’ performance in Tees Valley was a bright spot. Prior to Brexit, this area had traditionally been a Labour stronghold. Houchen, however, saw a much smaller vote share at 54% compared to 73% in 2020.

Sunak will hope that Andy Street also remains mayor of the West Midlands after Saturday’s results are announced. Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate for mayor of London, is also expected to win Saturday.

Sunak was appointed prime minister by the British government in October 2022, after his predecessor Liz Truss had left office only 49 days after a budget that included unfunded tax reductions. This caused financial markets to roil and sent home loan borrowing costs soaring.

Her chaotic — and traumatizing — leadership compounded Conservatives’ problems following the circus around her predecessor Johnson. Johnson was forced to resign after it was adjudged that he had lied to the Parliament about lockdown breaches in his Downing Street offices.

Sunak’s efforts have not changed the political landscape. Labour is consistently ahead by 20 percentage points in opinion polls. This would translate into a victory similar to Tony Blair’s in 1997.

The question of whether anyone else could do better may be on the minds nervous Conservative MPs as they head into the weekend.