Tories 'Heading Towards A Brick Wall At 100 Miles An Hour', Party Chairman Told

BBC Radio 4's Nick Robinson asks Greg Hands why Rishi Sunak will not change direction amid local election "hammering".
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Conservative chairman Greg Hands has been told his party is “heading towards a brick wall at 100 miles an hour”, as local election results point towards a miserable night for the Tories.

The party is on course for major losses in Rishi Sunak’s first electoral test as prime minister.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, Hands admitted it had been a “very difficult night” for the party.

Presenter Nick Robinson questioned why Sunak would not now “change course” given the scale of the Tory losses.

“It’s admirable in many ways, people like people who stick by their convictions, but it’s a curious thing to do when you’re in a car and you’re heading towards a brick wall at 100 miles an hour,” he said.

Hands said the government would continue to focus on what he believed were the “people’s priorities” of halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing debt, cutting NHS waiting lists and stopping the boats carrying asylum seekers across the Channel.

More than 8,000 council seats in England were up for grabs across 230 local authorities.

Early indications were that the Conservatives could be on course for 1,000 losses, with Labour and the Lib Dems enjoying major gains.

In a "seismic" result, Labour took Medway off the Tories and will run the Kent council for the first time since 1998.

The local authority's ousted Tory council leader this morning told the prime minister to “get a grip”.

Labour also gained control of Plymouth, where the Tories had run a minority administration – a result branded “terrible” by government minister and local MP Johnny Mercer – then did the same in Stoke-on-Trent, another general election battleground.

Writing for Sky News, elections expert Professor Michael Thrasher said the Conservatives were suffering a “hammering”.

“If that trend continues, the party is likely to post a final tally that rivals the debacle of 1995 that left them limping towards a massacre at the general election two years later,” he said.

Shabana Mahmood, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, said: “These results have been a disaster for Rishi Sunak as voters punish him for the Tories’ failure.”


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