Britain’s Conservatives trounced in local elections

Britain’s ruling Conservative Party has suffered a resounding defeat in local elections, a further sign that it is likely to be removed from power in upcoming general elections.

With nearly all council results in, the Conservatives have lost 450 seats, while the opposition Labour Party has picked up 170, as counting was under way on Saturday for a few more assembly and mayoral polls, most critically that of the mayor of London.

With the results in from 102 of 107 council elections, the Conservatives lost about half of those it was defending, costing it control of 10 councils.

Its rival Labour Party gained 170 council seats to wrestle control of eight councils, while also winning three newly created mayoral seats, including one in Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s own northern English constituency.

Labour also won a by-election for the Blackpool South parliamentary seat, triggered by the resignation of the scandal-plagued Conservative MP Scott Benton.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said the emphatic victories nationwide sent the prime minister a clear message to hold a nationwide vote.

“Voters in Blackpool South have sent a direct message to Rishi Sunak: Make way, let’s have a general election,” said Starmer.

Sunak, whose Tories are down about 20 points in the polls to Labour must order a general election to be held by January 28 next year at the latest.

Where did Labour win?

Labour performed strongly in areas that voted for Britain’s exit from the European Union, such as Hartlepool in the northeast of England, and Thurrock in southeastern England. Labour also seized control of Rushmoor, a leafy and military-heavy council in the south of England where it had never won.

In addition to its council victories, Labour won mayoral seats in the York and North Yorkshire, North East and East Midlands areas.

“Let’s turn the page on decline,” Starmer told supporters on Saturday in the East Midlands.

Conservative mayor Ben Houchen was re-elected in Tees Valley, a rare success, although with a greatly reduced majority.

Six more mayor races, including for London, will be called over the weekend.

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