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United Kingdom |  After the local elections, Labor has more headwinds than ever

United Kingdom | After the local elections, Labor has more headwinds than ever

(LONDON) Britain's Labor opposition party is savoring its victories in the first results of local elections that confirm the poor position of the ruling Conservative Party, just months before parliamentary elections.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak admitted the vote was “obviously disappointing” for his party, while saying he was “absolutely focused” on his role as head of government.

After 14 years in power in the United Kingdom, the Conservatives are tired and divided, struggling to deliver on some of the promises made before Brexit, notably on immigration and a fight against economic growth, and seeing British public services disintegrate.

There is a new MP for Blackpool South in the North West of England. Buoyed by significant wins, including the seat, Labor called on the prime minister on Friday to call a general election, but not until the second half of the year. Rishi Sunak.

Photo by Molly Darlington, Reuters

Rishi Sunak

Blackpool speaks for the whole country, “After 14 years of failure, 14 years of decline, we want to turn the page, we've got a new start with Labour,” said Labor leader Keir Starmer, who took part in the polls and pointed to the future prime minister for months.

“Poor” performance

Voters were called to the polls on Thursday for a by-election in Blackpool after an outgoing Conservative MP resigned over a lobbying scandal. Eleven mayors.

In London, Labor mayor Sadiq Khan is seeking a third term and is up against Conservative Susan Hall. The result is expected to be released on Saturday.

In 2021, at the height of the Conservatives' popularity under then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, most of the seats up for the referendum were last contested.

As the results come in, the Tories' slump increases. By Friday evening, when almost all the votes had been counted, Labor had won almost 170 seats, while the Conservatives had lost more than 430 seats, or almost half of what they held.

The Liberal Democrats and Greens also gained seats.

“We're going to see what is certainly one of the Conservatives' worst performances in local elections in the last 40 years, if not the worst,” said pollster John Curtis.

The defeat in Blackpool South was the eleventh by-election the Conservatives have lost since the December 2019 election, where they won under Boris Johnson.

The seven defeats came under Rishi Sunak, who will be in power from October 2022 after more than a month of lis truce in Downing Street.

The Conservatives have some cause for celebration, and the Prime Minister flew to the north-east of England on Friday to congratulate Tees Valley Conservative mayor Ben Hoosen on his re-election.

The victory was proof that the “conservatives are keeping their promise,” he said, praising the success of several economic programs in particular, and saying he was confident voters would “stay loyal” to the conservatives during the legislative elections.

Nationalist uprising

Symbol of PM's unpopularity: Labor wins local elections in North Yorkshire, home to Rishi Sunak.

The rise to power of the nationalist and populist Reform UK Party, founded by Brexit champion Nigel Farage, is another worrying sign for the prime minister, which threatens to rob conservatives of precious votes in general elections.

In Blackpool, the Tories narrowly defeated Reform UK, which has won only two seats so far in these local elections.

But the picture is not perfect for Labor, which has lost votes significantly in communities with a large Muslim population amid criticism of the party's stance on the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

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