Sunak urges Tories to stick with his leadership  


The Liberal Democrats beat the Tories into second place, winning 521 seats, up nearly 100…reports Asian Lite News

Rishi Sunak has urged Tories to stick with his leadership despite the Conservatives’ shock defeat in the West Midlands mayoral election, which capped a dire few days of results for the party.

Sir Keir Starmer called it a “phenomenal result” which was “beyond our expectations” as Labour’s Richard Parker ousted Tory incumbent Andy Street, who had held the role for seven years.

The margin of victory was a cruelly tight 1,508 votes, and compounded Conservative disappointment as it followed another loss to Sadiq Khan in London, who secured a record-breaking third term as the capital’s mayor.

“People across the country have had enough of Conservative chaos and decline and voted for change with Labour. Our fantastic new mayor Richard Parker stands ready to deliver a fresh start for the West Midlands,” Sir Keir said.

However, in an effort to win back those who had deserted his party over Labour’s stance on Gaza, he added: “I say directly to those who may have voted Labour in the past but felt that on this occasion that they couldn’t that across the West Midlands we are a proud and diverse community. I have heard you. I have listened. And I am determined to meet your concerns and to gain your respect and trust again in the future.”

Labour suffered losses to independents and George Galloway’s Worker’s Party of Britain in areas with large Islamic populations as a result of the war between Israel and Hamas.

But the party virtually swept the mayoral elections board across England, winning in Liverpool, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and in Greater Manchester, where Andy Burnham returned to power.

The Tees Valley was the only remaining splash of blue left on the mayoral election map, where Lord Ben Houchen managed to cling to power despite a huge 14.1-point swing to Labour.

Lord Houchen’s victory was also mired by allegations he had sought to distance himself from Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party at large during his campaign.

Losing Street, who is widely respected in the Tory Party and had an impressive track record of bringing investment into the West Midlands, is a body blow to the prime minister.

Despite the drubbing, Sunak urged his party to stick with his leadership and his plan for government. In a statement, he said: “It’s been disappointing of course to lose dedicated Conservative councillors and Andy Street in the West Midlands, with his track record of providing great public services and attracting significant investment to the area, but that has redoubled my resolve to continue to make progress on our plan. So we will continue working as hard as ever to take the fight to Labour and deliver a brighter future for our country.”

Results are in from 106 of the 107 councils in England that held elections on 2 May, and Labour has won 1,140 seats, an increase of more than 200.

The Liberal Democrats beat the Tories into second place, winning 521 seats, up nearly 100. The Tories were just behind on 513 seats, down nearly 400.

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