The scandal hit conservative party has haemorrhaged support across the UK with hundreds of council seats lost to Labour and the Lib Dems.
Labour has enjoyed decisive success in the local council elections with 260 additional councillors elected and over 3000 council seats secured with the vast majority of results declared. The conservatives lost over 400 seats across the UK securing around 1350 in total with councillors blaming defeat on the partygate scandal and cost of living crisis.
“I think what we’re seeing is a realignment in our politics and that the south of England, which has traditionally been the strongest area for the Conservative Party, is where the Conservatives are now going backwards pretty fast,” former conservative justice minister David Gauke told Sky News.
In London, conservative strongholds including Westminster, Barnet and Wandsworth – famously Margaret Thatcher’s favourite council – have defected to Labour.
The conservatives suffered a particularly painful defeat in Tunbridge Wells, losing the council for the first time in 22 years as the Lib Dems swopped in to become the majority party.
Despite a poor outcome for the conservative party minister Nadhim Zahawi today defended the prime minister. “I think he’s unique as a politician in being able to cut through,” Zahawi told the BBC.
He added that Johnson had got the “big decisions” on Brexit, the pandemic and social care right and called him an “asset” to the party.
Labour leader Kier Starmer called the elections a “massive turning point” for his party. “From the depths of 2019, we are back on track now for the general election,” he said.