Tories Suffer Major Losses in U.K. Local Elections

Tories Suffer Major Losses in U.K. Local Elections
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visits Cofton Park, near Birmingham, U.K., July 24, 2023 (Press Association photo by Ben Birchall via AP Images).

The ruling Conservative Party suffered heavy losses in local elections held across the United Kingdom yesterday. Though results continue to roll in, the Tories have already lost more than 250 seats, while the Labour Party won control of local councils it has not governed for decades and flipped a seat in Parliament in a special by-election. (AP)

Our Take

The usual caveats apply to these results: They are local elections, which are usually driven more by local concerns than national ones. Still, this is also the last nationwide ballot in the U.K. before the country’s next general election, which must be called by the end of the year. The expectation has been that the Tory Party is headed for a historic defeat in that contest, and the results from yesterday will only further cement that view.

Perhaps most telling is the by-election result for the parliamentary seat of Blackpool South in the northwest of England, which the Tories flipped in 2019 as part of the advances they made in Brexit-supporting areas of the country that historically voted Labour. Yesterday, Labour won the seat back with a 26-point swing. That suggests a massive turnaround in sentiment that, if repeated in the general election, would give the Labour Party an overwhelming majority in parliament.

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