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Local election drubbing for Sunak

Following a series of by-election defeats the Conservative Party’s ill fortunes continued as, over the Bank Holiday weekend, the results came in of last Thursday’s local elections.  

The party lost 474 councillors and control of ten councils; meanwhile ten Police and Crime Commissioners were elected for Labour in place of Conservatives. For a time on Friday it appeared as though Andy Street might cling on as Mayor of the West Midlands, but after a recount he eventually fell to Labour’s Richard Parker by a bare 0.3%. The governing party’s only notable bright spot was Ben Houchen’s retention of the Tees Valley mayoralty. 

Labour gained control of eight councils, mostly from no overall control, whereas the Liberal Democrats gained the rural councils of Dorset and Tunbridge Wells, from the Conservatives and no overall control respectively. Much attention has been paid to the election across the country of various independent and minor party councillors whose concerns appear to lie more in foreign affairs than any matters falling within the competence of the office. 

The immediate impact of these results will mostly be felt in those areas that are experiencing a change of administration, but nationally they represent Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s final electoral test prior to the forthcoming general election. His prospects continue to look bleak. Although Labour’s most recent poll lead of 7% would need to double for the party to win a majority, a combination of rising anti-Conservative tactical voting, support haemorrhaging to Reform UK and the continued decline of the SNP in Scotland make Labour the bookmakers’ odds-on favourite. 

The Countryside Alliance will be contacting the newly and re-elected Police and Crime Commissioners to press the case for more effective rural policing, including the provision and resourcing of dedicated rural crime teams. We will also continue our engagement with all candidates, seeking to establish relationships early with a view to the next parliament. We continue to stress the importance of voting in all elections to defend rural interests.  

To add your voice to ours, please consider joining the Countryside Alliance today. With your help, we can protect the future of our countryside for generations to come.

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