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Country Reports

Local Elections with National Impact

by Matthias Barner, Lukas Wick

The beginning of damage control for the British Conservatives?

The recent local elections have unsurprisingly not provided the Conservative Party with a promising foundation for the upcoming parliamentary elections. They suffered significant losses in large parts of England. In only one of eleven major city regions will a Tory mayor operate in the future. In nationwide polls, the opposition Labour Party ranks a whopping 20 percentage points ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's party. Is there still hope for the British Conservatives, or is it now just about damage control?

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In the recent UK local elections, the Labour Party emerged victorious, gaining control of eight councils, resulting in a net gain of 186 councillors. Conversely, the Conservative Party suffered significant losses, losing control of ten councils and over 470 councillors. Labour also triumphed in metro mayoralties, winning in ten out of eleven contested regions, including new areas like Northeast England, East Midlands, York & North Yorkshire, which includes Rishi Sunak's constituency. In London, Sadiq Khan secured re-election as Mayor.

Labour leader Keir Starmer sees the election results as a call for change, despite concerns over the party's stance on Gaza. Smaller parties like Reform UK and the Greens also made gains, reflecting shifting political dynamics. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak downplays the significance of the Conservative Party's losses, while internal dissent suggests a more critical outlook.

The aftermath of the Blackpool South by-election highlights challenges for the Conservatives. Starmer interprets these results as a mandate for change, advocating for early national elections. Speculation surrounds the timing of general elections, with predictions favouring Labour. Current polling shows a substantial lead for Labour, though individual constituency results will ultimately decide the outcome.

Read the full report in German and find out what these developments could mean for the upcoming general elections and especially for the Conservative Party.

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Matthias Barner

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Director United Kingdom and Ireland +44 20 783441-19


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