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Rishi Sunak faces worst local election losses for 40 years

Rishi Sunak is facing some of the Conservative Party’s worst local election losses in 40 years, an elections expert has predicted.

Professor Sir John Curtice said the Tories could be on course to lose 500 councilors in “one of the worst, if not the worst” performances by the party in four decades.

“So far they are basically losing a half of the seats they are trying to defend. If that continues they may end up losing 500 or so seats, which is the thing they were meant to avoid,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

“Early days yet, but where we have got the detailed voting numbers, it looks like though the Conservative vote is a wee bit down on where it was last year.”

The party has already suffered some key defeats in Thursday’s elections, putting the prime minister on shaky ground ahead of the general election, which is expected to be called in the second half of the year.

The results of polls for 107 councils, as well as 11 mayoral elections and the Blackpool South by-election are expected over the coming days – with early results showing Rishi Sunak’s party has been defeated in the Blackpool by-election, as well as losing more than 120 councillors.

Labour’s Chris Webb won the Blackpool South by-election with 58.9% of the vote, replacing Conservative MP Scott Benton and marking the Tories’ 11th by-election loss since the last general election.

The Tories narrowly scraped being pushed into third place by the Reform Party, which secured 16.9% of the vote to the Conservatives’ 17.5%.

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  • Boris Johnson turned away from polling station after forgetting ID

    Boris Johnson was turned away from the polling booth after forgetting his photo ID. (file photo/Getty Images)

    Boris Johnson was turned away from his local polling station when trying to vote in the local elections after forgetting to bring an acceptable form of photo identification.

    Sky News understands polling station staff were forced to send the former prime minister away after he initially failed to comply with legislation he introduced while he was in Downing Street.

    Read the full story from Sky News.

  • Conservatives’ by-election scorecard since 2019 general election

    Defeat in Blackpool South means the Conservatives have now lost 11 by-elections since the 2019 general election.

    Four took place while Boris Johnson was prime minister while the remaining seven have all occurred during Rishi Sunak’s premiership.

    Read the full story from PA.

  • Tories could have ‘one of the worst performances’ in 40 years, expert says

    Elections expert Professor Sir John Curtice said the Tories could be on course to lose 500 councilors in “one of the worst, if not the worst” performances by the party in 40 years.

    “So far they are basically losing a half of the seats they are trying to defend. If that continues they may end up losing 500 or so seats, which is the thing they were meant to avoid,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

    “Early days yet, but where we have got the detailed voting numbers, it looks like though the Conservative vote is a wee bit down on where it was last year.

    “We are probably looking at certainly one of the worst, if not the worst, Conservative performances in local government elections for the last 40 years.”

  • Labor ‘back as a national party’ says strategist

    Labour’s gains show it is ‘back as a national party’, says former Labor adviser John McTernan.

  • ‘No solace’ for Rishi Sunak amid brutal local election losses, polling guru Sir John Curtice warns

    Britain’s top polling guru has said there will be “no solace” for Rishi Sunak as a brutal set of local elections saw Reform UK push the Tories into third in a series of council seats.

    Despite finishing narrowly ahead of Nigel Farage’s right-wing challenger party in the Blackpool South by-election, which Labor won comfortably, the Conservatives were beaten by Reform in 16 of the 25 seats up for grabs on Sunderland City Council.

    Read the full story from The Independent.

  • Tories say Blackpool South was always going to be ‘a tough fight’

    The Tories said the Blackpool South by-election was “always going to be difficult” given the “specific circumstances” surrounding former MP Scott Benton after Labor secured a resounding victory in the vote.

    A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “This was a tough fight and David Jones was an excellent candidate who campaigned hard for every single vote.

    “This was always going to be difficult election given the specific circumstances related to the previous incumbent.

    “What has been clear is that a vote for Reform is a vote for Sir Keir Starmer – taking us right back to square one.”

  • Labor wins Blackpool South by-election

    Labor candidate Chris Webb celebrates after winning the Blackpool South by-election following the count at Blackpool Sports Centre, Blackpool. (PA)

    The Labor Party has won the Blackpool South by-election in a huge swing, following the ousting of Tory MP Scott Benton.

    Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “This seismic win in Blackpool South is the most important result today.

    “This is the one contest where voters had the chance to send a message to Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives directly, and that message is an overwhelming vote for change.

    “The swing towards the Labor Party in Blackpool South is truly historic and shows that we are firmly back in the service of working people.

    “I am so proud of the positive campaign we ran. To those who have put their trust in us in Blackpool, and those considering giving Labor their vote, we are ready to serve your interests.

    “Our new Labor MP Chris Webb has shown that after years of neglect with the Tories, there is a better alternative. The message to Rishi Sunak is clear. “It’s time for change, it’s time for a general election.”