Local elections 2022: A ‘tough night’ for the Conservatives as Labour makes ‘modest’ gains


It has been a “tough night” for the Conservative party, after the loss of some key local councils in London to Labour – but the opposition party has seen mixed results outside the capital.

The Tories have lost Wandsworth, Margaret Thatcher’s “favourite council”, Westminster and Barnet to Labour.

Boris Johnson faces losing his Commons majority if these election results are replicated at a general election, according to a Sky News projection.

Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Tories said the results were “disappointing” and were the public’s way of sending a clear message to Prime Minister Boris Johnson “particularly around partygate”.

Tories lose more than 200 seats – elections live

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Other members of the party have also blamed the prime minister for shock losses as controversy around Mr Johnson and the cost of living dominated comments on the doorstep.

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Another Conservative MP publicly warned it may require a change of leadership if the Government was to rebuild the trust of voters.

Mr Johnson – who helped pull the party to a significant majority in the 2019 election – could now be seen as an electoral liability, and no longer a guaranteed vote-winner.

“He (Mr Johnson) needs to find a way to restore confidence in the Government and I think there’s a number of ways he might do that,” he said.

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Tory losses ‘getting quite bad’

“A change of leader would be one of them. Alternatively, he needs to demonstrate what the alternative plan would be.”

The PM said he took full responsibility for the results as he faces a growing backlash from local Tories.

“We had a tough night in some parts of the country but on the other hand in other parts of the country, you are still seeing Conservatives going forward and making quite remarkable gains in places that haven’t voted Conservative for a long time, if ever,” he said.

He could face a leadership challenge if 53 Tory MPs – 15% of the parliamentary party – write to the chairman of the 1922 committee and call for a vote of no confidence.

Huge losses in Wales

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PM: ‘A mixed set of results’

The Conservatives are also facing huge losses in Wales as results continue to roll in.

In Monmouthshire, the only council the party controls, they are expected to lose seats.

And the party is facing pressure in Denbighshire, which has seen a big swing to Labour and Independent candidates, and Vale of Glamorgan, another Tory stronghold.

All four sitting Conservative councillors in Torfaen have also been ousted.

Meanwhile, Labour looks set to maintain its majorities in Swansea, Cardiff and other key seats – and appear positive about their chances right across Wales.

Plaid Cymru, Wales’ nationalist party has held onto Gwynedd and Wrexham has remained under no overall control.

Majority of Scottish councils have no clear winner

As of 5.45pm, all bar one of the country’s 32 councils had finished counting, with the SNP gaining control of Dundee, and Labour of West Dunbartonshire.

The remaining 29 had no clear majority.

Scottish voters have “sent a message” to Boris Johnson and his Conservatives, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has said.

Speaking from the election count in Edinburgh, Scottish Tory frontbencher Miles Briggs added: “We knew it was going to be challenging, we’ve known that for a couple of weeks now. I’m personally disappointed with the results which have come in so far.

“Some seats which we won five years ago we are now holding, which is really good to see.

“There’s some good news but it’s really disappointing.

“From the work I did yesterday with my activists here in Edinburgh, it’s quite clear that people weren’t going to go to vote.”

In Scotland, the vote share in the number of wards has dropped by more than 10%.

Labour gains modest

Despite positive progress in London – and insistence from leader Sir Keir Starmer that the elections marked a “turning point for the party” – Labour gains in the rest of England were more modest.

It was triumphant in the new Cumberland unitary council and took the bellwether council of Southampton from the Tories.

But in high profile places where they need to make advances – such as Hartlepool, Peterborough, Redditch and Ipswich – the party failed to take those councils.

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‘We’ve got the wind in our sails’

It has also been hit by the announcement on Friday that leader Sir Keir will be investigated by police in Durham over “beergate” – the allegation that he broke lockdown rules while drinking with colleagues in April last year.

However, Sir Keir has insisted he is “confident no rules were broken”.

Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden told Sky News: “Labour are certainly not on the path to power and I believe that Boris Johnson does have the leadership skills, in particular, the energy and the dynamism that we need during this difficult period of time.”

Lib Dems hail ‘real trend’ gains

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Lib Dems hail ‘historic gains’

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey was grinning about his party’s gains as he spoke to Sky News’ Kay Burley, telling her people had used their votes to send a message to Mr Johnson.

He insisted Lib Dem gains were not protest votes against the government but “a real trend now” – partly because the Tories are “failing so badly”.

Analysis: Crumbs of comfort for PM and rays of hope for Labour – but Lib Dems the clear winners

The Liberal Democrats took Kingston-upon-Hull in what will be seen as a big defeat for Labour.

While the Conservatives held Basildon, elsewhere in Essex, the Tory leader of Colchester Council lost his seat to the Liberal Democrats.

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