London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson led Conservative Party on Friday suffered some key losses in the local elections after the Opposition Labour won some of the traditional Tory strongholds in London.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the party had reached a “turning point” and was “back on track” to succeed at the next General Election after grabbing the councils of Westminster, Wandsworth and Barnet in London.
The Tories had held the Westminster council in the heart of London since its creation in 1964 and Wandsworth in south London since 1978.
“This is a big turning point. From the depths of the 2019 general election, we’re back on track. We’ve sent a message to the Prime Minister: Britain deserves better,” Starmer said, during a visit to Barnet on Thursday.
However, according to early results and trends, the picture looks mixed for the rest of England.
We’ve had some difficult results and we can see that in London but it does not demonstrate that Labour has the momentum to form the next government,” Conservative Party co-chair Oliver Dowden told the BBC.
The partygate scandal of Johnson and his close aides being found in breach of COVID-19 lockdown measures as well as the rising cost of living crisis are being seen as impacting the local elections for councils and boroughs across England, Scotland and Wales.
The elections, held on Thursday for 140 England councils, 32 in Scotland and 22 in Wales, are mostly about local issues but UK government politics at Westminster does have some bearing on voters’ choice.
Councillors are elected to represent the views of the local community and make decisions on delivering services such as local transport, health and construction planning.
Outside London, Labour welcomed winning in Southampton, overturning the small majority Boris Johnson’s party had there from the last set of local elections.
It also gained the new Cumberland authority but the Liberal Democrats took Kingston-upon-Hull in a big defeat for Labour after 11 years.
Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey welcomed the “very promising” results for his party.
“There is now a real picture emerging across the country, particularly in areas held by the Conservatives, that the Lib Dems are the real challengers,” he said.
Meanwhile, results are still pouring in and all seats in England, Scotland and Wales should be declared by Friday evening.
In Northern Ireland, which was voting for 90 members of its devolved assembly, the results are expected on Saturday.
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