Boris Johnson’s Tories must lose control of a flagship London Authority over Labor – but there was a mixed picture for Sir Keir Starmer’s party outside the capital.
Wandsworth, which has been a Conservative authority for more than 40 years, is expected to fall to Labour, with the Tories fearing other boroughs will also be lost.
But outside London, the Liberal Democrats won hull by Labour, while the Greens also took seats in competitions across England.
Labor took control of the new Cumberland authority, where a senior local Tory asked Mr Johnson to leave.
John Mallinson, leader of Carlisle City Council who will be replaced by the new authority, told the BBC: “I think it’s not just Partygate, there’s the integrity issue. Basically, I just don’t feel like people have any more confidence that the prime minister can be trusted to tell the truth.”
The Tories also lost Worcester without overall control, with gains for the Greens and Labour.
Council seats are up for election in Scotland, Wales and much of England, while elections are due in Stormont in Northern Ireland.
In some English competitions, votes were counted overnight, including at the main authorities in the capital.
Wandsworth is a totemic authority on the Tories. It turned blue in 1978, a year before Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister, and was reportedly her favorite council, known for its low taxes.
But Tory insiders believe it is a “definite loss” along with Barnet, while Westminster could also see a loss of Tory control on a dismal night for Mr Johnson’s party in the city, which he used to chair.
The leader of the Labor group in Barnet, Barry Rawlings, told the BBC: “I’ve been feeling optimistic for a while.”
The election comes in the wake of the Partygate scandal and amid concerns over a cost of living crisis, underscored by gloomy Bank of England economic forecasts on Election Day.
Midterm elections are always difficult for a ruling party, although many of England’s seats were last contested in 2018 during Theresa May’s chaotic government, opportunities for opposition parties to make further gains can be limited.
A Tory source conceded “we expect this election to be tough”.
Cabinet Secretary Brandon Lewis insisted Mr Johnson remained the right person to lead the party amid speculation that a string of poor election results – coupled with further revelations about the lockdown-busting No10 parties – could mean that more Tory MPs submit letters of no confidence.
The Northern Ireland minister told Sky News: “I absolutely believe we can win the next election and I think so Boris Johnson is the right person to take us there.”
Police Minister Kit Malthouse told the BBC: “The further you get from London, the better the picture for us.”
In Rutland, where no elections are even held, the Tories suffered a setback when council leader Oliver Hemsley announced his departure from the party, claiming the area had been “ignored, marginalized and with no further improvements in our purchasing power”. by the government.
Many English authorities, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will not begin counting until later on Friday.
The contests are the first opportunity for voters to speak out since Mr Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were fined for breaking coronavirus laws and the party was hit by other scandals including Neil Parish, who quit after admitted he had seen pornography in the House of Commons.
Pressure on household finances is also a major concern, the Bank of England made clear on Thursday – with interest rates rising to 1%, inflation forecast at more than 10% and the economy forecast to contract over the past three months of the year year.
Labor’s campaign has been hit by Tory’s calls for Durham Police to investigate whether Sir Keir broke Covid rules during his election campaign ahead of the 2021 Hartlepool by-election – something he has dismissed as a “mud fight”.
The Tories have also complained about a secret pact between Labor and the US Liberal Democrats to maximize Conservative pain in marginal seats, something disputed by both opposition parties.
Labor Party leader Anneliese Dodds acknowledged there would be “ups and downs” with the results but said she hoped they would show progress since losing the 2019 general election under Jeremy Corbyn.
Jonathan Ashworth, Secretary for Shadow Work and Pensions, acknowledged there was a mountain to climb for the party after the 2019 general election.
“It’s climbable but my god it’s a big mountain because we got an absolute blast in 2019, the worst result since the 1930s,” he told the BBC.
The Liberal Democrats, following recent wins in the Westminster by-elections in North Shropshire, Chesham and Amersham, have focused on penetrating the Tory heartland – the ‘Blue Wall’ in southern England.
Party leader Sir Ed Davey said: “I’m optimistic that the hard work of the Liberal Democrats will help them gain ground in areas beyond the Blue Wall, where voters are tired of being taken for granted by the Conservatives.”
But the Lib Dems also secured victory in Hull in a head-to-head battle with Labor for control of authority.
After 45 councils declared the Tories had lost control of an authority and suffered a net loss of 50 seats, Labor had a net gain of 21 seats, the Lib Dems gained control of a council and took 28 seats while the Greens did Taten won 17 council members.
In England, more than 4,000 councilors are standing for election on 146 councils in major cities including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and all 32 London boroughs.
All 32 councils in Scotland and all 22 in Wales also hold elections.
In Northern Ireland, voters in 18 constituencies went to the polls to elect 90 MLAs.
Unionists DUP and Republican Sinn Féin are fighting for the top spot in the election, which comes with the right to nominate the next first minister.
A Unionist party has always been the largest in the Assembly and previously in Parliament of Stormont since the State was formed in 1921.
While the office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister is an equal office with shared power, the granting of the titles is seen as symbolically important.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/boris-johnson-hull-london-prime-minister-lib-dems-b2072756.html Tories brace for defeats in London while Labor Hull loses to Lib Dems