The final result from England’s council elections is now and as expected it is really not very good for the Conservative Party.
Across 230 councils, the Tories lost 957 seats, with Labour gaining 643, the Lib Dems gaining 415 and Greens gaining 200.
The Conservatives lost control of 48 councils, with Labour gaining control of 22, the Lib Dems 12 and Greens one, while an additional 16 are now under no overall control.
Rishi Sunak has been under pressure since last week over his party’s dismal performance at the polls.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson branded the results “devastating” for the Tories.
“It’s frankly an insane thing for anybody to try and spin otherwise. I’ve been involved for 23 years with the local elections in Swindon, we’ve had about 19 good years of results and four bad years and this was off the scale,” the Conservative backbencher told Times Radio earlier today.
He warned that it needed to be “a wake-up call for the party at all levels”.
But the prime minister has indicated he will not change course, instead telling broadcasters he would stick to his “priorities” despite the “obviously disappointing” results.
“I have set out five very clear priorities – to halve inflation, to grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists and stop the boats,” he said.
The results suggest Labour is on course to either win a majority at the next election or at least be the largest party in a hung parliament, making Keir Starmer prime minister.
Starmer today warned his shadow cabinet the “hardest part lies ahead” as he welcomes signs that voters are returning to Labour after leaving over Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn.
The Labour leader told his top team they must demonstrate how Labour would create a “big reforming government” rather than relying on the Conservatives’ unpopularity.
But he acknowledged there is “a lot of scepticism” about politics and tell them they must show they have plans that offer “not just reassurance, but the hope the country needs”.
In the coming weeks, Labour will unveil missions on education reform, clean power and making the NHS fit for the future as it seeks to bolster support.
It took until Tuesday for the final verdict on Thursday’s vote to be declared as there was a third recount recount in Longbeck ward in Redcar & Cleveland, which saw Labour’s Luke Myer and independent Vera Rider elected, the latter just four votes ahead of Conservative Andrea Turner.