Sadiq Khan casts his vote in the London Mayoral election

Rishi Sunak is braced for heavy losses in the local elections as rebel Tories plot to oust him if key mayoral contests are lost in what has been described as a potential “armageddon” weekend for the prime minister.

Ahead of the first results coming in overnight, a bombshell new poll found the Tories are now even less popular under Mr Sunak than during the calamitous premiership of Liz Truss.

Early indications from Sunderland pointed to a strong performance for Nigel Farage’s Reform UK, with the right-wing challenger party beating the Tories in a slew of the seats up for grabs.

The results will heighten the nerves of Conservative MPs as two days of counting begins.

One Tory MP told The Independent that a move against Mr Sunak is “likely” if either West Midlands mayor Andy Street or Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen lose their jobs.


Former chancellor George Osborne said on his Political Currency podcast: “If Andy Street loses in the West Midlands, that’s pretty bad …[but] If Ben Houchen loses it will be armageddon – because at that point, people will say, ‘We are absolutely headed now for a massive landslide defeat’.”

Labour is expected to win a by-election taking place in Blackpool South.


Labour gains Hartlepool council, spokesman

A Labour Party spokesman has said it won back Hartlepool council, describing it as a “groundbreaking moment” after disappointment in the area in 2021.

Sir Keir Starmer has admitted he considered quitting as Labour leader after the party lost both the Hartlepool by-election and council seats three years ago.

A spokesman said: “Winning back Hartlepool council is a groundbreaking moment after the disappointing results we saw here in 2021.

“Keir Starmer pledged to change the Labour Party after that result, and today’s win shows that this changed Labour party is ready to deliver the change that communities like Hartlepool are crying out for.

“Making gains here shows that the Party is on track to win a general election and is firmly back in the service of working people.”

Archie Mitchell3 May 2024 00:57



Chris Heaton-Harris: Vote Reform, get Labour

Cabinet minister Chris Heaton-Harris said the results in Sunderland showed “if you vote Reform, you get Labour”.

The Northern Ireland Secretary told the BBC: “It’s a very straightforward equation for people at the next general election.

“If they want to vote Reform, they’ll end up with Labour MPs, and they’ll end up with a Labour government, and then they’ll end up, probably, with everything they didn’t want to vote for based on the profile of Reform voters.”

Archie Mitchell3 May 2024 00:53



Tory minister admits Conservatives will lose Blackpool South

Cabinet minister Chris Heaton-Harris accepted that Blackpool South was likely to be lost by the Conservatives.

The Northern Ireland Secretary said it was “going to be a tough seat for us to hold” given the scandal which led to it.

He told the BBC: “You are highly unlikely to be rewarded by the electorate. Electorates do not like by-elections being put on them because of a failing like that.

“From the very start I would have expected to lose Blackpool South.”

Archie Mitchell3 May 2024 00:38



Labour holds Sunderland council, Reform UK outperforming the Tories

Labour has won the first four seats to be declared in Sunderland, ensuring it retains control of the council.

The party entered polling day with 47 of the 75 seats on the council, and holding four of the 12 it was defending ensured it retained its majority. A total of 25 seats were being contested.

Reform UK’s leader Richard Tice said his party was outperforming the Tories in Sunderland.

“Outstanding early results in Sunderland,” he said. “We expect to beat the Tories with a majority of 25 seats in Sunderland.”

In the first few seats declared, Reform UK came second behind Labour.

Archie Mitchell3 May 2024 00:31



Rishi Sunak’s vote shrouded in mystery

Rishi Sunak’s vote is shrouded in mystery, with No 10 and the Conservative Party refusing to say where he cast his ballot and who for.

According to The Mirror, spokespeople for the PM are refusing to say whether he voted in person or by post.

And they are refusing to say whether he voted for Tory London mayoral candidate Susan Hall. A Tory spokesman insisted only that Mr Sunak “has voted”.

It is not known whether this was in London or in his Richmond constituency in Yorkshire.

A source close to the prime minister has since clarified that he voted by post in Yorkshire.

Archie Mitchell3 May 2024 00:25



Reform set to come up short in Blackpool South

Both Reform UK and the Conservatives believe Nigel Farage’s right-wing challenger party is to fall short in the Blackpool South by-election.

The contest was its best shot in a series of recent by-elections to overtake the Conservatives, given Blackpool’s strong backing for Brexit and social deprivation.

But Reform and Tory sources at the count told The Independent they believe it has fallen short.

It is expected Labour will gain the seat, with the Conservatives in second and Reform in third.

Archie Mitchell3 May 2024 00:13



Sadiq Khan: ‘We have sent message of fairness and equality’

Sadiq Khan said his campaign and Labour activists “sent out a message of fairness, of equality and of hope”.

The London Mayor said: “Whatever the results this weekend might bring, I am so proud of that.”

Archie Mitchell2 May 2024 23:54



‘I love London – it’s a beautiful city, but we’re in trouble’

Voters in London have been giving their thoughts on the capital amid the local elections, Canqi Li reports.

“I love London – it’s a beautiful city, but we’re in trouble,” Christian Pisanti, 56, from Shepherd’s Bush said.

According to Mr Pisanti, everything in London is very expensive: “People cannot afford to go to a pub. Everybody is struggling.”

Like Mr Pisanti, Aoife Daly, 35, from Southwark thinks the cost of living crisis in London is a “massive thing”.

Moreover, Ms Daly thinks there is “a lack of awareness or acknowledgement of the impacts of the climate in London.”

“14 years of Tory rule have destroyed everything,” she said.

Matt Mathers2 May 2024 22:56



‘Most voters’ were able cast ballots despite ID checks – Electoral Commission

The Electoral Commission said “most voters” were able to cast their ballots despite the ID requirements.

“Our initial assessment of the elections is that they were well-run, and millions of voters were able to exercise their democratic rights,” a spokesman said.

“This is a testament to the efforts of electoral administrators, who work tirelessly to ensure the smooth delivery and integrity of polls.

“A number of new measures from the Elections Act were in force at these elections, including voter ID for the first time in Wales and parts of England. The electoral community has been working hard to prepare voters for these changes. Most voters who wanted to vote were able to do so.

“We will now begin to collect evidence from voters, electoral administrators, partner organisations, and campaigners to understand their experiences of the elections and identify any potential obstacles to participation.”

Matt Mathers2 May 2024 22:44



Lib Dems: ‘Voters want end to Tory government’

The Liberal Democrats have said the local elections showed voters “want an end to this appalling Conservative government”, Archie Mitchell reports.

Responding to polls closing, leader Sir Ed Davey said: “The message across the country today was loud and clear. Voters want an end to this appalling Conservative government.

“People are sick of the Conservative party’s endless infighting, unaffordable mortgages, an NHS in freefall and filthy sewage being pumped into their rivers and seas.

“They want change and they want to see the end of Rishi Sunak’s Conservative party in office. That is why, up and down the country, so many lifelong Conservative voters backed the Liberal Democrats today, because they know Liberal Democrat councillors will never take them for granted and fight for the issues they care about.”

Matt Mathers2 May 2024 22:34


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