Local elections: 'Tough few months' for Johnson says expert
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Rochford and South Tyneside – which both voted heavily in favour of leave in the 2016 EU referendum – turned their backs on Boris Johnson yesterday. In Rochford, the Conservative party lost six seats. In their place, the Lib Dems picked up two seats and the independents picked up four.
Meanwhile, in South Tyneside, Labour held the seat, with the Green party making gains in three seats.
In 2016, South Tyneside was a Brexit stronghold, with 62.0 percent of the votes going to Leave.
Rochdale saw a similar result, with 60.1 percent of voters backing Leave.
This comes as the Conservative party has suffered a series of heavy losses in the local elections.
Labour took Westminster from the Tories for the first time since it was created in 1964.
The Conservatives also lost their hold on their iconic Wandsworth council in southwest London.
The loss is considered to be a symbolic defeat for the party, as it was not only a Tory stronghold, but it was also reportedly Margaret Thatcher’s favourite council, having been held by the party since 1978.
Labour gained nine seats, while the Tories lost 11.
The outgoing Conservative leader, Ravi Govindia, admitted that voters had doubts about the Prime Minister.
He said: “Inevitably other events have clouded the judgement of people in Wandsworth,” adding that “the issue of Boris Johnson” was raised during the campaign.
Mr Govindia continued: “We have done exactly what the residents of Wandsworth wanted.
“To find that counts for nothing is a sad reflection of the importance of local government not being recognised.”
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He added: “Let’s not be coy about it, of course national issues were part of the dilemma people were facing.”
Shabana Mahmood, the Labour party’s national campaign coordinator described the results as a “turning point for the Labour party”.
The poor results come amid lagging poll ratings for Mr Johnson’s Conservative party, which has been at crisis point since the Partygate scandal hit.
Speaking to BBC News, pollster Sir John Curtice said: “The Conservatives have suffered more or less the kind of loss of support that we might have anticipated given their current standing in the opinion polls.
“They are on average around four points down compared with 2018, which was when most of the seats that we’ve been declaring overnight were last contested.
“And they’re actually down by rather more, by about six points compared with their performance in last year’s elections.”
He added: “It is probably going to be the case that their tally of net losses is going to be somewhere between 200 and 300, which was the kind of figure that many commentators suggested would be the ballpark figure they would suffer if indeed their current position in the polls was reflected in the actual ballot box.”
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