Conservatives suffer worst local election results in years – with London and West Midlands mayoral votes still to come

By John Mercury May 4, 2024

The Conservative Party has suffered its worst electoral defeat in years, losing more than half of its councillors who stood for re-election across England.

Labour hailed a “truly historic” result in Rishi Sunak’s own backyard of York and North Yorkshire, where David Skaith smashed Tory Keane Duncan by almost 15,000 votes.

The region, which was electing a mayor for the first time, covers Mr Sunak’s Richmond constituency and is an area Labour has historically struggled to compete in.

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The results as they come in

Speaking at Northallerton Town Football Club, Sir Keir Starmer said: “We’ve had a positive campaign here, and I am very, very proud to stand here as leader of the Labour Party to celebrate this historic victory.

“And it is a historic victory – these are places where we would not have usually had a Labour Party success but we’ve been able to create that success and persuade people to vote for us.”

Sir Keir also renewed his demand that the prime minister call a general election.

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‘This win is not a one-off’ – Starmer

The party also had successes in the North East and East Midlands mayoral votes and in the Blackpool by-election.

There was a sliver of hope for the government, with Lord Ben Houchen holding on to his role as the mayor of Tees Valley.

Analysis: Labour’s future success is less clear-cut after the local elections

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PM on ‘disappointing’ election results

Appearing alongside Lord Houchen at a victory rally, Rishi Sunak said: “I’ve got a message for the Labour Party too because they know that they have to win here in order to win a general election – they know that.

“They assumed that Tees Valley would stroll back to them – but it didn’t.”

This victory is likely to have quelled talk of rebellion among disenchanted Tory MPs who had threatened to oust the prime minister if the results proved a disaster, but it remains to be seen whether the Tories can hold on to the West Midlands mayoralty.

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Analysis: Local election results

Of the 107 councils that held elections on Thursday, 102 have declared their full results, with the Conservatives losing more than half of the seats it has been defending so far.

Some 468 Tory councillors lost their seats as the party lost control of 12 councils.

Sky’s election coverage plan – how to follow

The weekend: Sophy Ridge will host another special edition of the Politics Hub on Saturday from 7pm until 9pm. And Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips will take a look back over what’s happened from 8.30am until 10am.

How do I watch?: Freeview 233, Sky 501, Virgin 603, BT 313, YouTube and the Sky News website and app. You can also watch Sky News live here, and on YouTube.

The Electoral Dysfunction podcast with Beth Rigby, Jess Phillips and Ruth Davidsonis out now, and Politics at Jack and Sam’s will navigate the big question of where the results leave us ahead of a general election on Sunday.

You can also follow the latest on our politics page

Labour won control of eight councils as it gained 173 seats, while the Liberal Democrats gained 100 seats, the Greens 67, and Reform UK picked up two.

Read more:
The winners and losers
Charts tell story of Conservative collapse
Who is Labour’s new MP in Blackpool South?

However, Labour suffered setbacks in Oldham and Kirklees, where it lost control of the councils after victories for independent candidates opposing its stance on Gaza.

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Labour also lost seats on other councils including Bristol, where the Greens extended its lead as the largest party and could now be set to run the city council despite narrowly failing to win outright control.

Notably, all 14 councillors in the newly created Bristol Central constituency are now Green, where the party is looking to unseat Labour’s shadow culture secretary Thangam Debbonaire at the general election.

Sky News elections analyst Professor Michael Thrasher says although the results are bad news for the Tories, they do not put Labour on course for an overall majority in the Commons in a general election.

Further results are expected over the weekend, including key mayoral contests in London and the West Midlands.

Labour’s Sadiq Khan is attempting to secure re-election in London, while Conservative Andy Street is defending his position in the West Midlands.

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Sky News general election projection

Rumours had swirled in London since the polls closed that Mr Khan could have suffered a shock defeat to Conservative Susan Hall, however Sky News understands both parties now believe the incumbent will remain in City Hall.

The results of those elections are expected to arrive at 10pm in London and 2.15pm in the West Midlands.

Lord Ben Houchen and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak celebrate in Teesside following his re-election as Tees Valley Mayor. Picture date: Friday May 3, 2024.
Lord Ben Houchen’s re-election on Teesside was a crumb of comfort for the Tories. Pic: PA

There are also metro mayoral elections yet to declare a winner in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City, North Tyneside, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.


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