Sunak Faces Up to Mid-Term Blues in First Local Elections Under His Leadership

Polling station sign for the 2016 UK EU membership referendumInternationalIndiaAfricaJames TweedieOpposition Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has tried to make this year’s council elections into a verdict on the Conservative government. But the results may not show enough of a vote swing to propel him into Downing Street.British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has warned his Conservative Party of potential major losses in the first local elections since he took the helm.The PM told the audience at a reception held by centre-right policy think-tank Onward on Wednesday that the Tories were in for “a tough night” before making digs at his predecessors Liz Truss and Boris Johnson.

"I've only been Prime Minister for six months, but I do believe we are making good progress," Sunak insisted. ".If you think about where were were then, and where we are now. Our economy is in much better shape. Our politics doesn't feel like a box set drama anymore, and our friends and our allies know that we are back."

Voters will go to the polls to elect more than 8,000 councillors in 230 local authorities.Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer has painted the elections as a verdict on Sunak’s government — and by extension a vote of support for his Labour Party ahead of the next general, expected next year.He has also promised Labour-run authorities will freeze Council Tax for a year amid the cost-of-living crisis — raising the prospect of severe spending cuts if inflation stays at its current level of around 10 per cent.Labour, which leads the conservatives by around 15 points in recent opinion polls, expects to win eight per cent more of the vote than the ruling party and some 400 seats. WorldUK Parliament Widens Sunak Probe for Breach of Conduct24 April, 15:58 GMTBut two political experts said Starmer would need a double-digit swing to win in 2024.Polling guru Sir John Curtice pointed out that former Labour came out seven pints ahead in the 2012 council elections under former leader Ed Miliband, but went on to lose the 2015 general election.Colin Rallings, emeritus professor of politics at Plymouth University, said the “accepted wisdom” was that Labour needed a 12-point lead in overall vote share to win a majority of the 650 Parliamentary constituencies.The last council elections in May 2022 saw the Tories, then led by Johnson, lose 485 seats of which Labour only picked up 108.


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