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Sunak's position has come into increasing question after huge losses in local elections

Sunak's position has come into increasing question after huge losses in local elections

It was the Prime Minister who was bravely positive and gave the first comment to Sky News at 1pm on Friday Swedish time.

– It is of course disappointing for us to lose many mandates for our municipal politicians. But I am focused on continuing to deliver results,” Rishi Sunak said.

He tried to highlight one of the few bright spots for his party: the re-election of Conservative candidate Ben Houchen as mayor of the Tees Valley in northern England.

But also in The Tees Valley strongly supports the Conservatives, and in other parts of the country the losses are like sticks in the hill. In Rushmore in the county of Hampshire in southern England, for example, the Conservatives ruled for decades. Now Labor is winning power for the first time in this conservative stronghold, where the British Army is based, among other things.

Photo: Owen Humphreys/TT

Another example: In the by-election in Blackpool in northwest England, Labor candidate Chris Webb won 58.9 per cent of the vote – an increase of just over 20 percentage points compared to the last election.

The last time we witnessed such large fluctuations was during the period 1992-1997, and we know what happened in 1997, says political science professor John Curtis to the BBC.

He refers to the landslide election victory achieved by the Labor Party in 1997 under the leadership of Tony Blair.

In Blackpool where It also almost pushed the Conservatives into a humiliating third place. By a margin of just under one percentage point, the right-wing populist Reform UK Party remained behind.

The UK's Reform Party was founded by Nigel Farage, one of Britain's biggest Brexiteers, and Conservatives are concerned about what might happen if Farage himself decides to return to politics.

The impact of Brexit that lifted the Conservative Party at the 2019 election, when Boris Johnson was party leader, appears decidedly over. The big question is whether Rishi Sunak can continue as party leader until the national parliamentary elections later this year (a specific date has not yet been set).

Speculation is growing about whether internal pundits will move to replace Sunak before the election. From the right wing of the party, the possibility of changing the party leader to a compromise candidate, such as Penny Mordaunt, was explored. But Mordaunt has so far denied all these speculations.

Labourlidarine Care Starmer.

Photograph: Ollie Scarfe/AFP

There have already been two changes in party leadership since the 2019 election. It is uncertain, to say the least, whether the Conservatives would benefit from another election for party leader. In a poll conducted by ConservativeHome among Conservative Party members, the answer was clear: 63% want Sunak to remain as party leader, regardless of the results of the local elections.

Keir Starmer has Labor has deliberately pushed towards the political center in recent years, while the Conservative Party has moved towards the right. Along with the scandals and political crises that have rocked the Conservative Party, this is likely to be an important explanation why Labor is now about twenty percentage points ahead of the Conservatives in the opinion polls.

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