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‘No solace’ for Rishi Sunak amid brutal local election losses, polling guru Sir John Curtice warns

Britain’s high polling guru has said there will be “no solace” for Rishi Sunak as a brutal set of local elections noticed Reform UK push the Tories into third in a collection of council seats.

Despite finishing narrowly ahead of Nigel Farage’s right-wing challenger party within the Blackpool South by-election, which Labour gained comfortably, the Conservatives have been overwhelmed by Reform in 16 of the 25 seats up for grabs on Sunderland City Council.

Alarm bells will be ringing in No 10 Downing Street because the second day of counting council and mayoral outcomes will get underway. after a disastrous night time of outcomes for the Conservatives in local elections throughout the UK.

Nigel Farage is reportedly considering returning to frontline politics with Reform UK (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)Nigel Farage is reportedly considering returning to frontline politics with Reform UK (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Nigel Farage is reportedly contemplating returning to frontline politics with Reform UK (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Professor Sir John Curtice mentioned it’s “not looking very good for the Conservatives”.

Britain’s high polling guru advised the BBC: “We are going to end up with the big headline being that the Conservatives are in at least as big a hole as they were 12 months ago.

“These results do not look as though they are going to provide that much solace to 10 Downing Street.”

Pollsters warned of the threat of Reform and said the local election losses would provide little comfort for Rishi Sunak (Conservative Party)Pollsters warned of the threat of Reform and said the local election losses would provide little comfort for Rishi Sunak (Conservative Party)

Pollsters warned of the specter of Reform and mentioned the local election losses would supply little consolation for Rishi Sunak (Conservative Party)

And pollster Luke Tryl, UK director at More In Common, mentioned the Conservatives’ win over Reform “pales in comparison” to the size of the swing in direction of Labour.

He advised The Independent: “The fact the Tories managed to hold 2nd place in Blackpool South, even if by the narrowest of margins, will be important psychologically for Tory MPs.

“But the truth is what will worry the Tories most is Labour hitting nearly 60 per cent of the vote, some 25 points higher than the combined Tory and Reform vote, and having achieved the third highest swing from the Conservatives in recent memory.

“At that level of Labour performance, the impact of Reform pales in comparison.”

Mr Sunak has been repeatedly warned that Reform might deprive the Conservatives of tens of seats on this 12 months’s basic election.

And Mr Farage is weighing a return to frontline politics with the social gathering, a transfer which might add to the size of defeat going through the Conservatives. Tory candidate David Jones completed simply 117 votes above Reform’s Mark Butcher in Blackpool South with 3,218.

Labour gained the crimson wall seat comfortably in a significant blow to Mr Sunak’s hopes of holding collectively the electoral coalition fashioned by Boris Johnson in 2019, with Chris Webb gaining 10,825 votes.

The result’s the third largest swing towards Labour in by-election historical past, representing a 26 per cent swing from the 2019 basic election. Party sources mentioned it’s “much bigger” than the 12.5 per cent nationwide swing wanted to win a majority on the subsequent basic election.

Sir Keir Starmer mentioned the “seismic” win could be the “most important result” of the local elections. The Labour chief mentioned: “This is the one contest where voters had the chance to send a message to Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives directly, and that message is an overwhelming vote for change.”

He added: “The swing towards the Labour Party in Blackpool South is truly historic and shows that we are firmly back in the service of working people.”

Of the 78 years Blackpool South has been a constituency, it has been held by a Conservative MP for 57.

Labour additionally celebrated a collection of “historic” council positive factors in a single day, successful Hartlepool, Thurrock and Rushmoor.

Three years in the past Labour misplaced the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election to the Conservatives – an occasion that led Sir Keir Starmer to contemplate quitting as social gathering chief.

A celebration spokesman mentioned: “Winning back Hartlepool council is a groundbreaking moment after the disappointing results we saw here in 2021… making gains here shows that the party is on track to win a general election.”

Sir Keir Starmer with Chris Webb, Labour’s new MP for Blackpool South (PA Wire)Sir Keir Starmer with Chris Webb, Labour’s new MP for Blackpool South (PA Wire)

Sir Keir Starmer with Chris Webb, Labour’s new MP for Blackpool South (PA Wire)

Speaking after his win in Blackpool South, Mr Webb mentioned: “People no longer trust the Conservatives. Prime Minister: do the decent thing, admit you’ve failed and call a general election.”

Mr Benton gained the seat, which had been held since 1997 by Labour, for the Tories below Boris Johnson in 2019. He had a slender majority of simply 3,690.

In February, Mr Benton was suspended from the House of Commons for 35 days after being discovered to have breached the foundations.

The House of Commons committee on requirements discovered the MP had given the impression he was “corrupt” and “for sale” after he was secretly filmed saying he might desk parliamentary questions and supply “behind the scenes” data for as much as £4,000 a month.

Scott Benton MP was forced out of parliament over the scandal (PA)Scott Benton MP was forced out of parliament over the scandal (PA)

Scott Benton MP was pressured out of parliament over the scandal (PA)

Mr Benton was ready to leak market-sensitive data to an funding fund and ask parliamentary questions on its behalf, in breach of parliamentary lobbying guidelines, an undercover investigation for The Times discovered.

He was caught on digicam telling undercover reporters posing as traders how he was keen to take actions that might break Parliament’s lobbying guidelines.

In a gathering in March 2023, Mr Benton described how he might assist a pretend funding fund, which he believed was arrange by an Indian businessman trying to make investments within the UK betting and gaming sector, by trying to water down proposed playing reforms.

Mr Benton additionally provided a “guarantee” to supply a replica of an upcoming playing white paper to the enterprise a minimum of two days earlier than publication, probably permitting it to profit from market-sensitive data.

He additionally mentioned he might desk parliamentary written questions and mentioned he had beforehand accomplished it on behalf of an organization.

Mr Benton mentioned he might supply “the direct ear of a minister who is actually going to make these decisions” and converse to them exterior the Commons voting foyer.

The MP agreed with a payment proposed by the reporters within the vary of £2,000 to £4,000 a month for two days’ work.

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