UK. Electoral setback for Boris Johnson, weakened by scandals

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s conservative party, weakened by scandals, suffered heavy defeats in London on Friday in local elections which also bode well for a historic turning point in Northern Ireland.

Mid-term air hole or real beginning of the end for the conservative leader? If the count is not over, Boris Johnson’s camp, undermined by revelations about the Downing Street parties and soaring prices, has already suffered symbolic losses in the capital.

Smaller parties make progress

The Labor opposition in London won the local councils of Westminster, controlled by the Tories since its creation in 1964, of Barnet as well as Wandsworth, “favorite council” of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Outside the capital, Labor is making only limited gains so far, while smaller parties, the Liberal Democrats and Greens, are making progress.

From his constituency in west London, Boris Johnson spoke of “mixed” results. He acknowledged a “tough night” Thursday for the Tories in some areas but claimed progress in others.

A “turning point” according to the Labor Party

Emboldened by the early results, Labor leader Keir Starmer hailed a “turning point”: “We sent a message to the Prime Minister, Britain deserves better,” he said, before tweeting “the change starts now”.

The Conservatives lose more than 170 seats

According to the still partial results, the Conservatives lose 11 councils and more than 170 seats compared to 2018 while Labor wins seven councils and more than 110 additional elected officials.

Although traditionally marked by very local issues and low turnout, these elections gauge for the first time the effects of the holiday scandal in Downing Street during the confinements, a case which earned Boris Johnson a fine.

In power for 12 years, the Conservatives are also criticized for their insufficient support for households strangled by inflation, which should peak this year at more than 10% according to the central bank.

Boris Johnson’s popularity has plummeted

Conservative party chairman Oliver Dowden tried to temper, putting these “difficult results” in line with what can be expected from a mid-term election.

The popularity of Boris Johnson, 57, soon to be three in Downing Street, collapsed after the “partygate”. He has so far weathered the storm, highlighting his leading role in Western support for Ukraine, and says he is determined to stay in power and lead the battle for the next legislative elections in 2024.

Labour, the main opposition party, hopes to take advantage of its weaknesses. But Keir Starmer, who has repeatedly called on Boris Johnson to resign, is in turn targeted by a police investigation, suspected of having broken health rules for having shared beers and curries with his team at the end of April 2021 before a partial legislative .

Expected results in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, where the 90 elected members of the local assembly of Stormont are renewed, the counting of votes began on Friday morning and could continue on Saturday or even beyond.

A political earthquake is looming: polls give Sinn Fein the lead in the local assembly for the first time in a hundred years of British province history, under tension since Brexit.

A victory for Sinn Fein, the former political showcase of the paramilitary organization Irish Republican Army (IRA), would propel its vice-president Michelle O’Neill to the post of head of local government, which is to be jointly led by nationalists and unionists. under the 1998 peace accord.

Possible political paralysis

It would initiate a possible redefinition of the United Kingdom: the party advocates reunification with the Republic of Ireland, even if it has relegated this claim to the background in favor of social issues. The score of the non-aligned center will also be scrutinized.

The risk of a political paralysis hovers. DUP Unionist leader Jeffrey Donaldson repeated Thursday that his party would refuse to participate in a new executive if the British government refused to act on the difficulties posed by post-Brexit customs controls, which according to the Unionists threaten the place. of the province within the United Kingdom.

Source: Le Progrès : info et actu nationale et régionale – Rhône, Loire, Ain, Haute-Loire et Jura | Le Progrès by

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