Tories take a punishing in council elections across Sussex

May 04 12:10 2019

Prime Minister Theresa May addresses delegates during the Scottish Conservatives’ annual party conference at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, Friday May 3, 2019.

Britain’s governing Conservatives and the Labour main opposition took a drubbing Friday in English local elections as voters vented their frustration with the Brexit deadlock.

Labour failed to make expected gains in the elections, instead losing 82 seats, while the Liberal Democrats benefited from Tory losses, gaining 703 seats.

Smaller parties also gained in the local elections, which are often used as a protest vote against the incumbent party.

The Green Party saw its vote share increase from 9% previous year to 15% in yesterday’s elections.

“John McDonnell, Labour’s economy spokesman and a leading figure in the talks with May, said he heard the message from voters: “‘Brexit – sort it.’ Message received”, he said in a tweet.

Health minister Matt Hancock urged pragmatism in a BBC radio interview earlier on Saturday.

The results were worse than the drubbing that had been predicted, and they prompted renewed calls for the embattled British leader to step down.

The Conservative Party saw its majority wiped out as a number of prominent councillors lost their seats.

Labour, meanwhile, lost control in Darlington, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Wirral and the mayoralty in Middlesbrough, where its vote was down 11% as independent Andy Preston was elected, although it did gain control of Amber Valley from Tories.

“Everybody who keeps on arguing that the only way out of the Brexit impasse is to have another general election should remember that there is perhaps a non-trivial probability that we would end up with another hung parliament”, he said.

After years in the doldrums following the Brexit referendum, the party has been back with a vengeance nationally following delays over the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and Theresa May’s failure to get her deal to leave through Parliament.

Conservative leader Chris Barnfather, who kept his seat in Newstead Abbey, said “It’s hugely disappointing, I’ve been in politics long enough to know that it can be a brutal business”. I think they will have a riot on their hands if they try to do that.

“We don’t want you, we don’t want you”, he added.

On his own constituency Mr Lewis said: “A good result in Great Yarmouth”.

Mr Corbyn left no doubt he saw the results as a demand for resolution of the Brexit impasse three years after the 2016 vote for European Union withdrawal.

He said that Mr Raab, 45, was “the best-placed Brexit candidate to win the necessary support among MPs and party members and, above all, broaden our appeal to voters”.

Exeter MP, Ben Bradshaw, also said Labour was doing well against the Conservatives, “but badly in the remain wards against Lib Dems and Greens”, blaming the party’s “ambivalent national position” on Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats also reported informal campaign pacts with the pro-Remain Change UK party which is only standing candidates in the European elections.

“I don’t think there is a democracy to be quite honest”.

Graham Galpin looks on as the Furley vote is counted

Tories take a punishing in council elections across Sussex
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