Tories set to lose over 500 seats at local elections amid voter backlash, predicts survey

Keir Starmer says beergate is Tory mud-slinging ahead of election

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It is thought the recent Partygate fines, care home scandal, and the cost-of-living crisis will all see a loss in votes for the Conservatives. The survey conducted on 1,749 participants in the 201 councils that will be going to the polls this week suggested that Labour will hold 3,500 seats, an increase of over 800.

The Tories are thought to make a loss by 548 by retaining under 980 seats as they could lose their flagship councils Westminster and Wandsworth alongside Barnet, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Southampton, and Thurrock. 

The Chief Executive of Electoral Calculus, which managed the survey with Find Out Now, stated: “The renewed ‘partygate’ focus has made a poor situation for the Conservatives even worse by persuading even more Conservative supporters not to turn out at the local elections.

“The results could now be bad for Boris Johnson, especially if the Conservatives lose many hundreds of council seats and key flagship councils like Wandsworth or Westminster.”

Meanwhile, the Labour party could gain an additional 16 councils.

The Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party have been accused by Oliver Dowden, the chairman of the Conservative party of creating a pact to damage the Tories at the elections. 

Labour leader Keir Starmer and Lib Dem leader Ed Davey rejected the rumours of a union or pact with Mr Davey saying: “There’s no pact now. 

“There’s not going to be a pact in the future.”

A spokesman for the Lib Dems told the Telegraph that the changes in candidates totals to three percent of seats and that the notion that the party was standing down candidates for Labour was “total nonsense”.

The spokesperson added: “Parties always allocate resource in pragmatic ways to win as many seats as possible.”

Mr Dowden wrote a letter to the Labour leader Keir Starmer to demand a response to the allegation that the supposed plans of a pact will “deny voters a proper democratic choice”.

He said: “There has been a considerable amount of media reporting of the existence of an electoral pact between Labour and the Liberal Democrats in recent months.

“It now appears that your plans to deny voters a proper democratic choice are coming to fruition.”

In further comment on the matter to The Telegraph he said: “This is yet further damning evidence of a murky backroom deal between Labour and Lib Dems, quietly trying to stitch up certain seats behind closed doors and deny voters a democratic choice.”

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He added: “Labour and Liberal Democrat councils deliver worse local services and some of the highest council tax in the country, so it’s little wonder they are resorting to these tactics.”

If the results of the survey come to fruition on “super Thursday” it will bring further into question Boris Johnson’s leadership of the party. 

However, the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said the Prime Minister’s leadership was not “at threat at all” despite criticism of the Tories dominating the media ahead of the elections and rumours of Jeremy Hunt’s bid for leadership.

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