Mayoral results due as election counts continue

Mayoral results due as election counts continue

Among the contests being decided today are the mayoral races in London and the West Midlands

Rishi Sunak is braced for the result of key mayoral elections in London and the West Midlands, after the Conservatives were trounced in the first day of local election results.

As Friday’s result declarations closed, the Conservatives had suffered a net loss of 371 seats, and lost control of 10 councils.

Despite widespread losses, the Prime Minister appeared to take solace from the Tories’ win in the Tees Valley mayoral election.

Lord Ben Houchen retained the mayoralty, amid denials he had sought to distance himself from the Conservative party during his campaign.

All eyes will now turn to mayoral contests in London and the West Midlands, the results of which will be declared on Saturday.

Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan is now believed to have a closer-than-expected contest with Tory challenger Susan Hall in the capital, while a narrow contest is also likely for West Midlands Tory mayor Andy Street.

The results of several other mayoral, council, and police and crime commissioner elections will also be announced as the weekend begins.

Saturday’s results could be further fodder to Tory rebels set on ousting Mr Sunak before the general election, should the Conservatives suffer key losses.

But in a defiant message closing out the first day of results, Mr Sunak suggested there was still hope for his party despite already suffering bruising defeats in the final test of voters before a general election.

He wrote in the Telegraph newspaper: “Thursday’s results showed that voters are frustrated and wondering why they should vote. The fact Labour is not winning in places that they admit themselves they need for a majority, shows that Keir Starmer’s lack of plan and vision is hurting them.

“We Conservatives have everything to fight for – and we will because we are fighting for our values and our country’s future”.

Mr Sunak pointed to his party’s recent commitment to hike defence spending, and measures to grasp migration as clear dividing lines with Labour.

Sir Keir Starmer meanwhile hailed his party’s victory in the York and North Yorkshire mayoral race on Friday afternoon as “truly historic”.

The region, which covers Mr Sunak’s Richmond constituency, is somewhere Labour has historically struggled to compete in parliamentary elections.

Labour also won inaugural mayoral contests in the East Midlands and the North East, and gained nine police and crime commissioner posts from the Tories, including in Cumbria, Avon and Somerset, and Norfolk.

It also took a Tory scalp by winning the Blackpool South by-election.

But in a smattering of councils, the Opposition party lost seats to independents and George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain, all apparently over the party’s stance on Gaza.

Overall, Labour won control of eight councils as it saw a net gain of 204 seats, while the Liberal Democrats gained 92 seats and the Greens 58.

The Liberal Democrats’ most significant victory was winning control of Dorset council from the Conservatives, where it now has 42 of the 82 seats after gaining 15.

The Greens fell narrowly short of taking overall control of Bristol, one of their top targets, despite gaining 10 seats.

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