Politics: Local elections in England: Tories are threatened with defeat

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Conservative Party faces defeat in local elections.

Politics: Local elections in England: Tories are threatened with defeat

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Conservative Party faces defeat in local elections. The Tories are expected to lose hundreds of seats on local councils in the vote in England. That is likely to increase pressure on the prime minister ahead of the general election, which Sunak says will take place later this year. Elections will now take place in 107 of the 317 English communities (“councils”). An overview.

London elects a mayor

The mayoral election in London and ten metropolitan regions is particularly important. In the capital, incumbent Sadiq Khan from the social democratic Labor Party is considered the favorite, as are his party colleagues in the Manchester and Liverpool regions. In the newly formed York and North Yorkshire region in northern England, which is also Prime Minister Sunak's constituency, a Labor politician is also leading in the polls.

But the Conservatives can hope to defend the town halls of the West Midlands region of central England and the Tees Valley in the north-east. More than 2,500 local councilors, the 25 members of the London City Assembly and 37 so-called Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales, a political office responsible for overseeing the local police authority, will also be elected.

Opposition hopes for change

The local elections are also seen as a mood test for the national parliamentary elections. The British must elect a new parliament by January 2025 at the latest; an exact date has not yet been set. The Conservatives have governed the United Kingdom for around 14 years with changing prime ministers. In polls, however, Sunak's party has long been lagging behind the largest opposition party, Labor.

Its leader Keir Starmer claimed that a vote for his party in the local elections would be a first step towards a government that would stop "the chaos" and give Britain its future back. Prime Minister Sunak, on the other hand, once again drew attention to his stricter migration policy and the reduction of social security contributions before the vote. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt said his party would have to prepare for heavy losses.

Financial distress, potholes, sewage

Issues that particularly concern voters include the difficult financial situation of many municipalities, potholes on roads, wastewater discharged into the sea and rivers, and high housing costs. According to an analysis by the think tank Local Government Information Unit, many local councils are reacting to the impending financial ruin with higher taxes and fees as well as lower social benefits. Birmingham, for example, stopped all non-essential spending in September so that basic tasks could still be carried out.

When the results come

The polling stations opened in the morning. An estimated 44 million of England's 57 million residents are eligible to vote. In contrast to the parliamentary election, EU citizens residing in this part of the country are also allowed to take part. While most municipalities want to announce their results by Friday at the latest, the result of the London mayoral election is not expected until Saturday.