Local elections 2024: Conservatives in ‘a very tough situation’

The results from this year’s local elections have started being announced and they have triggered calls for Rishi Sunak to change course.

This morning, Richard Holdman, the Conservative chair, admitted last nights local election announcements had been a ‘tough set’ for the party, which has suffered heavy losses including in the Blackpool South byelection with a 26-point swing to Labour.

When the results began pouring in at midnight, it was revealed the Conservatives lost more than 100 councillors, which has prompted industry experts to theorise that this election could be ‘one of the worst, if not the worst’ performance by the party in 40 years.

Counting is expected to continue into the long weekend, but so far, the Tories have lost 217 councillors across the country, compared with a labour gain of 91. 53 out of 107 councils have been accounted for.

This afternoon, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak finally broke his silence on the catastrophic vote swing after Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, called for a general election.

‘Obviously it’s disappointing to lose good, hard-working Conservative councillors and I’m grateful to them for all their service in local government, keeping council tax low and delivering services for local people,’ Sunak said. ‘But we have still got lots of results to come as well.’

However, it seems Sunak’s optimistic tone isn’t replicated within his party. Whilst speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns, said: ‘My stance always is the same, but I’m not sure that colleagues are going to be putting the letters in, so we’re working with what we’ve got. I think we shouldn’t have got rid of Boris in the first place, but we are where we are and it’s looking unlikely that MPs are going to put the letters in.’

Jenkyns added: ‘The last 24 hours, I think for Rishi, he’s got a message, he has been told by the electorate: wake up, be Conservative or we lose.’

Although, a survery of party members published by the ConservativeHome website suggested that 63% did not think Sunak should resign as party leader, regardless of what the final results were.

When it comes to the general election, Keir Starmer said: ‘This is a clear divide now. We have had 14 years of failure and decline. We just got chaos and division from the Tories.’

Image: Shutterstock 

More on this topic:

Red vs blue: Everything you need to know about 2024’s local elections

Local elections: has the key to Levelling Up success been revealed?


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