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Key points as early local election results indicate major losses for Tories



At the start of a long weekend of election results, the first outcomes have been every bit as dire for the Conservatives and Rishi Sunak as analysts had predicted. With fewer than a third of the council elections declared, and none of the metro mayoral results yet in, here is the state of play.

  1. 1. Labour has won the Blackpool South byelection with a 26-point swing

    The “red wall” seat was retaken by Labour after the third largest Tory-to-Labour swing ever. Almost as ominously for the Conservatives, they managed to beat Reform UK by only 117 votes. Keir Starmer described this as a “seismic win” and a “truly historic result”. The byelection was triggered after Scott Benton stood down in March over a lobbying scandal.

  2. 2. The Conservative party is on course to lose up to 500 council seats

    The Conservatives have already shed more than 100 council seats on a night of heavy losses for the party. The political scientist Prof Sir John Curtice said the party was “basically losing half the seats they’re trying to defend”. If that continued, he added, they could end up losing about 500 seats. Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme he said the party seemed to be on course for “one of the worst, if not the worst Conservative performance in local government elections for the last 40 years”.

  3. 3. Sunak will lead party into general election, says Tory chair

    Richard Holden, the Conservative party chair, said that although the results had not been great for the Tories, there was no chance of Rishi Sunak being replaced. Speaking to Times Radio, he said: “The prime minister is going to go on and lead the Conservative party into the general election, there’s no doubt about that.” Asked for his response to the results so far, Holden said: “Not a great set of results but coming off, I think it would be fair to say, a very high watermark in 2021.”

  4. 4. Labour has gained control of four councils

    The party has taken Rushmoor and Redditch from the Conservatives . It has also taken Hartlepool and Thurrock, both from no overall control. The Conservatives have lost control of three councils. The full results are available here.

  5. 5. Labour has lost control of Oldham council

    Gains by independents meant Labour lost its small majority in Oldham council, in an area with a large Muslim population. Arooj Shah, the Labour leader of Oldham council, rejected suggestions that Starmer’s response to the Israel-Gaza war was to blame. Shah said there had been “divisive, toxic politics” in Oldham for the last five years and that problems in the town were ultimately linked to Tory austerity.

  6. 6. The Liberal Democrats have gained seats but no councils so far

    The Lib Dems retained control of Winchester, after winning eight of the first 10 seats to declare. Daisy Cooper, the party’s deputy leader, said: “The Liberal Democrats are on the up with gaining councillors across the country, from Hampshire to Stockport. The Liberal Democrats’ winning streak continues and we are ready to beat Conservative MPs and finally get this chaotic government out of office.”

  7. 7. Labour has failed to take control of Harlow

    Harlow, a bellwether seat in the general election, had been targeted by the party in the local election with visits by Starmer and Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, on Wednesday. Starmer said Labour needed to win “in places like Harlow”. The Tories went into the local elections with 21 of the seats on the council, and Labour holding the other 12. The Tories now have 17 seats, and Labour 16.

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