The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Johnson suffers great losses in London in the local elections

  • The Conservatives are losing control of London councils
  • The results are seen as a test of Johnson’s popularity
  • Poor performance will increase the pressure on Johnson

LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party lost control of traditional strongholds in London and lost another local election, early results showed on Friday as voters punished a number of government officials. .

Johnson’s party was overthrown in Wandsworth, a Conservative stronghold with low taxes since 1978, part of a trend in the British capital where voters used the election to express anger over a cost-of-living crisis and fines imposed on the prime minister for breach. of. their own COVID-19 locking rules.

The Conservatives lost control of Barnett County, which was held by the party in all but two elections since 1964. Labor also believes it won Westminster Council for the first time, a district where most government institutions are located. read more

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“This is a warning shot from Conservative voters,” said Daniel Thomas, Barnett’s Conservative leader.

The overall report, expected later Friday, will provide the most important snapshot of public opinion since Johnson won the Conservative Party’s majority in more than 30 years in the 2019 general election.

The ballot is the first electoral test for Johnson since he became the first British leader to break the law while in power. He was fined last month for attending a birthday party at his office in 2020, violating social distance rules then in place to limit the spread of COVID. read more

Preliminary results showed the Conservative Party had lost 92 council seats. The main opposition Labor Party won 23 seats and the Liberal Democrats 42 seats.

The loss of key councils in London, where the Conservatives were almost wiped out, will increase pressure on Johnson, who has been fighting for his political survival for months and faces the possibility of more police fines for attending other lockdown-breaking rallies.

Thursday’s election will determine nearly 7,000 council seats, including all in London, Scotland and Wales, and a third of the seats in most of the rest of England.

Johnson overturned conventional British policy in the 2019 general election by winning and then promising to improve living standards in former industrial areas in central and northern England.

But the loss of Wandsworth, Barnet and possibly Westminster symbolizes the way in which Johnson, who won two terms as mayor of London, lost his appeal in the capital. His support for Brexit cost him support in London, where a majority of voters supported staying in the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

The result outside the capital is likely to be less clear. The Conservatives lost total control of the councils in Southampton, Worcester and West Oxfordshire.

But the party did not do as badly as some polls had predicted. An election poll suggests the Conservatives may lose about 800 seats in the council.

John Curtice, a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, said early trends suggested the Conservatives were about to lose about 250 seats. He said the results suggest Labor could not emerge as the largest party in the next election.

However, some local Conservative leaders called on Johnson to step down after the party’s poor performance, which he blamed on fines and the cost of living crisis.

John Carlinson, the Conservative leader of Carlisle City Council, told the BBC he found it “difficult to drag the debate back to local issues”.

“I just do not feel that people are confident anymore that the prime minister can be trusted to tell the truth,” he said.

Simon Bosser, a senior Conservative in Portsmouth, said the party leadership in Westminster needed to “take a good, long-term look in the mirror” to find out why they lost seats.

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Report by Andrew MacAskill. Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Stephen Coates

Our role models: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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