May 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

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‘The work that needs to be done’ after local election loss – Rishi Sunak

‘The work that needs to be done’ after local election loss – Rishi Sunak
  • Written by Sam Francis
  • Political correspondent, BBC News

Rishi Sunak has rejected calls to change course after poor local election results, arguing that he can make “progress” with voters before the general election.

Speaking for the first time since the full extent of the Conservative Party’s losses was revealed, the Prime Minister described the loss of 470 council members as “deeply disappointing”.

The conservatives are licking their wounds after a series of defeats in local elections. After the final votes were counted on Sunday, the Conservatives lost control of 10 councils, more than 470 council seats, and a symbolic loss for West Midland mayor Andy Street.

The party also lost 10 police and crime commissioners to Labour, representing a potentially major blow to the Conservatives if they aim to focus their next general election campaign on law and order.

He appeared to acknowledge for the first time that his party might be on track to lose its majority, and Sunak said the local election results “suggest we are heading towards a hung parliament in which Labor will be the largest party.”

His comments echo analysis by leading psychologist Professor Michael Thrasher for Sky News – which suggested Labor would win 294 seats in the general election.

This forecast, rejected by some polling experts, used local election results to estimate a national estimate of vote share in the general election.

“The country does not need more political compromises, but action. We are the only party that has a plan to achieve the people’s priorities.

“I know the last few years have been difficult, and I understand why people are frustrated.

“Losing good Conservative councilors and a fantastic Mayor like Andy Street who has done so much good for the West Midlands is of course deeply disappointing.

“There is work to do and more progress to be made, and I am determined that we will come together as a group and show the British people that we deliver.”

The Labor Party denied that it plans to establish alliances with other parties in order to form a government in the next general elections expected in the second half of this year.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday program with Laura Kuenssberg, Labour’s election co-ordinator, Pat Macfadyen, said there was now a “sense of faith” that his party could win.

He praised the party’s “tremendous” election results, especially the victory in the West Midlands mayoral race, which “exceeded our expectations.”

“When people look at Labor now, they can see a changed party compared to what it was a few years ago,” McFadden said.

“A Labor Party that passes the basic confidence tests that voters are looking for.”

Video explanation, WATCH: Braverman says she regrets backing Sunak for prime minister

Speaking on Sunday, former Home Secretary Suella Braverman said Sunak’s plan “is not working”.

“There’s no hiding the fact that these were appalling election results for the Conservatives,” Braverman told the BBC.

She added that Sunak must “change course” towards more right-wing policies in order to win back Tory voters who have been “on strike”.

Despite her frequent criticism of the Prime Minister, Braverman has not called for Sunak to be replaced, saying it would be “impossible” to change leaders as the general election approaches.

Ms. Braverman is among many conservative voices who have come out to defend a shift in politics to the right in light of the bleak local election results.

Miriam Kates, co-chair of the neo-conservative group made up mostly of “red wall” MPs, from the party’s 2019 line-up, said her party must deliver on “patriotism and national security” to avoid falling into the “abyss”.

Writing in The Telegraph, Kates called on Sunak to ignore policies that “serve the international elite” and instead focus on significantly reducing immigration and reforming planning laws to boost housebuilding.

Lord David Frost, Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator, said he believed it was too late to save the Conservative Party from “electoral defeat at the next general election”.

Lord Frost said that to save the party, Sunak must produce “more tax cuts, more spending cuts” and “a serious assault on the net zero burden”.

Damian Green, chairman of the One Nation Group of Conservative MPs, said: “To suggest that what we need to do is move to the right is irrational in the face of voters.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour programme, the former first secretary said: “I would just note the seats we have lost in the last few days – we have lost to parties that were to our left.”

Conservative Party leader Richard Holden told the same program that voters wanted the party to present a “clear vision for the country”.

“I want to see lower taxes, but they will be implemented in a sustainable way,” he said.

“I think it’s too indulgent in talking to ourselves and talking about ourselves in the moment. Whenever I go to the doorstep, I agree with some of the others who have spoken, what people want to see, is [the Conservative Party] – Providing a clear vision for the country. I think we’ve seen a lot of that from the Prime Minister in the last few days: more welfare reform, building on those universal credit changes that have fundamentally changed the way social care works in this province, encouraging people to work – that’s happened. “In the last 14 years, but we have to go further.”