Conservatives take over Harrow in a shocking victory; Aspire Party leader’s win becomes a tower moment for Tower Hamlets

Thursday 12th May 2022 04:05 EDT

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken the responsibility for the massive loss that the Conservative party has witnessed in the local council elections barring a handful of boroughs. He admitted that the local elections were 'tough' for the Tories - and he 'of course' takes responsibility. The Conservatives suffered defeats at town halls across the country amid Partygate, the cost of living crisis and a Labour and Lib Dem resurgence.


The Lib Dems tasted victories in Tory strongholds, including in Oxfordshire, while Labour took the long-standing Tory councils of Barnet, Westminster and Wandsworth in London.


Johnson said, “It is mid-term. It’s certainly a mixed set of results. We had a tough night in some parts of the country but on the other hand in other parts of the country you are still seeing Conservatives going forward and making quite remarkable gains in places that haven’t voted Conservative for a long time, if ever.”


“The big lesson from this is that this is a message from voters that what they want us to do above all – one, two and three – is focus on the big issues that matter to them, taking the country forward, making sure we fix the post-Covid aftershock, get us all through the economic aftershocks in the way we got through Covid, fix the energy supply issues, that’s where the inflationary spike is coming, and keep going with our agenda of high wage, high skill jobs,” he said.


An OpEd in The Times titled ‘Surrendering London will haunt the Conservative psyche’ described the local council election results by saying that “living and working in Labour-run Westminster may turn more MPs against Boris Johnson.”


Celebrating in Barnet, Sir Keir Starmer said: "From the depths of 2019 in that general election, back on track, winning in the north. Cumberland! Southampton!

"We've changed Labour and now we're seeing the results of that."

He added: "When it comes to London, you can hardly believe those names come off our lips. Wandsworth! They've been saying for years, 'You'll never take Wandsworth from us'. We've just done it! Westminster! It's an astonishing result."

Raab admits facing “tough fight” to save his seat


Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has admitted he faces a “tough fight” to keep his seat in the next general election after the Liberal Democrats ate into the Conservative’s vote share in the south of England in this week's local elections. Raab defended his party’s poor results in the local elections. With 199 of 200 councils declared, the Tories have lost 491 seats and the control of 11 councils, while Labour is up 115 councillors and the Lib Dems are up 222. He denied that the results were a “disaster” for the party”, insisting that it was a “mixed bag” across the country.

“I’ve pointed to the areas where we've done better than expected. Even in London, which was a very difficult set of results for us, there [were] areas like the Croydon mayoralty, there are areas like Harlow… and other areas where actually it has been uneven. 

“I don't think you can take a single view, other than to say London under Keir Starmer very much looks like a metropolitan party which has got appeal in London but not beyond to the rest of the country.”

"What people vote in a set of midterm local elections and what they vote for when you choose a government in a general election are two wholly different things,” he said.


Reshuffle on the cards


Boris Johnson will reshuffle his cabinet before the summer recess, according to allies of the prime minister. However, allies of the PM told Sky News he is expected to change his top team before the summer recess, which is currently set to begin on 21 July.

The Conservatives lost nearly 500 seats in England, Wales and Scotland in Thursday's council elections, with party gate and the cost of living crisis cited by local leaders as key issues on the doorstep.

On Saturday evening, with 199 out of 200 councils declared, the Tories had lost 12 councils and 487 councillors, while Labour gained five councils, the Lib Dems five, and the SNP one.


LibDem leader gloats


The Liberal Democrats enjoyed success in councils across the country from Somerset to Hull. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the PM was facing an "almighty shockwave that will bring this Conservative government tumbling down". Speaking to Sky News' Kay Burley, he insisted Lib Dem gains were not protest votes against the government but "a real trend now" - partly because the Tories are "failing so badly". Mr Davey, in a speech to activists after a string of victories, said: "The tectonic plates of British politics are shifting beneath Boris Johnson’s feet. And now it’s time for Conservative MPs to plunge him into the abyss. So our message to Conservative MPs here in Wimbledon and across the Blue Wall is this: If you don’t get rid of Boris Johnson, if you don’t give struggling families and pensioners more help with the cost-of-living crisis, f you don’t start listening to people and stop taking them for granted, we are coming for you."

Tower moment for Tower Hamlets


Labour Party lost east London council to Aspire party. The Aspire Party, founded by Lutfur Rahman, gained Tower Hamlets Council from Labour after winning 24 of the 45 seats. The political party formed by controversial politician Lutfur Rahman has taken control of an east London council. The party gained Tower Hamlets Council from Labour after winning 24 of the 45 seats.


The Labour Party – which previously held 42 seats – secured 19 seats, while the Green Party won nine and the Conservatives won one.

Following the declaration, the party tweeted: “It’s official. Aspire gain control of Tower Hamlets. Aspire now hold an overall majority over the council. Thank you to all the residents, well-wishers and volunteers for their unwavering support.”


On Friday, Mr Rahman defeated Labour incumbent John Biggs to become the elected mayor of Tower Hamlets.


His win is being criticised due to his past activities where Rahman was forced to step down after an election court found him guilty of corrupt and illegal practices, and he was banned from running for office for five years. But he faced no criminal prosecution.


On Friday, after being elected mayor of Tower Hamlets in the second round, Rahman urged people to “judge me on what we will do for you”.


Rahman won 40,804 votes, with Mr Biggs on 33,487. Election commissioner Richard Mawrey said evidence aired at that trial had revealed an “alarming state of affairs” in Tower Hamlets.


He said his ruling meant the 2014 Tower Hamlets mayoral election was void and when the election was re-run it was won by Biggs. Following the win on Friday, Rahman hailed the “huge vote” that took him to victory – claiming he had “a bigger mandate than I had in 2014 or in 2010” and pledged to “rebuild” the borough.


He said: “I want to rebuild Tower Hamlets, I want to invest in our future, and give our people a better future than we had in the last seven years.”

Pointing to his time in the role, he said: “Judge me and my administration on our record, what we’ve delivered in the first term.

“The only borough in the country to have free homecare. We delivered the London living wage – the first in London – we delivered the university bursary, and educational maintenance allowance.

“Our promises going forward are even more progressive. Judge me on what we will do for you.”


Meanwhile, it has been reported that the far-right group allegedly ‘distributed fake Labour and Tory leaflets in a bid to influence by-elections’

First-ever Afghan wins


Darius Nasimi, Conservative candidate for Hanworth Village won and became the first-ever Afghan Conservative candidate to stand in a local election and if he wins will make history. He is standing in Hounslow council. His family arrived in the UK in the back of a lorry and then claimed asylum. He is also the founder of KCL Central Asia Society.


Shocking victory for Conservatives in Harrow


Harrow Times reported, “The Conservatives clinched a shock victory in Harrow, offering the party a spark of hope on what was a difficult night in London.

The Tories assumed overall control of the council for the first time since 2006. Voters elected 31 Conservatives, edging out Labour, who took 24 seats.  

It means the new Tory administration will have a majority of seven. New ward boundaries meant there were just 55 seats up for grabs, eight fewer than in 2018. 

Closely fought wards included North Harrow, where long-standing Tory councillors Chris Baxter and Janet Mote won by just a handful of votes.”

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