Rishi Sunak arrived at CCHQ with comfort food today as the Tories suffered big losses in local elections – and Keir Starmer boasted he is set to win the keys to No10.
The Conservatives have lost control of eight councils and shed more than 190 seats. Labour ended 23 years of blue rule to take charge in Medway, while Mr Sunak’s grip was prised loose in Brentwood, Tamworth, North West Leicestershire, Hertsmere, East Lindsey and Boston.
In another body blow, the Lib Dems have seized Windsor & Maidenhead – in Theresa May’s constituency.
Although many more results are to come, polling experts said the Tories could yet face the ‘calamity’ of losing more than 1,000 seats overall. Worryingly for Mr Sunak the pummelling has been coming in both ‘Red Wall’ areas and traditional heartlands.
Labour celebrated victories in Plymouth, where the Conservatives had been running a minority administration, and Stoke-on-Trent – a key battleground ahead of next year’s general election. They were also jubilant about a mayoral win in Middlesbrough.
Party sources boasted that their performance so far, if replicated at a general election, would be good enough to see Sir Keir become PM. That would require a massive double-digit swing.
In both Tamworth and North West Leicestershire there were signs that recent Westminster sleaze scandals had damaged the Tories as they lost control of both councils.
Tamworth’s local MP is Chris Pincher, the former Conservative whip who faced groping claims last summer in a scandal that ultimately led to Boris Johnson’s downfall as PM.
The North West Leicestershire MP is Andrew Bridgen, who was kicked out the Conservative Party last month following his claim that Covid vaccines were ‘the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust’.
Read More: Comfort food? Rishi arrives at Tory HQ with provisions as he faces HUGE losses in local elections