UK Municipal Elections: London Voters Punish Boris Johnson Over Party Scandal | International
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Municipal elections in the UK, electing hundreds of local councilors and representatives, are always a punishing vote for the party in power. They are interpreted more as a relief for the voters than as a forecast for the general elections. But if it is accepted that they draw a mood, that of many conservatives is one of deep irritation with Boris Johnson. With the declaration of results in almost half of the 200 municipalities that called the polls this Thursday, the formation of the prime minister is heading for an approximate loss of almost three hundred positions. A hard blow, although below the 800 that some polls predicted. The crash, with all the symbolism that it entails, has occurred in three London neighborhoods: Wandsworth, Westminster and Barnet, governed by the Conservatives for almost half a century.
The former was always Margaret Thatcher’s favourite, where local taxes were lower and support for The Iron Lady constant; the second houses the Parliament, the Executive and all the institutions of the British central power; the third, Barnet, has a significant Jewish population, and the victory represents a certain redemption for the Labor Party, after years of turbulence due to accusations of anti-Semitism within it. The British capital has been a hotbed of rejection of Johnson and his policies in recent years due to Brexit, but the fact of suffering a setback of this dimension in the city where he was mayor for eight years, and reaped much of his popularity politics, it is a serious warning. “Believe me, this is a huge turning point for the game. We got out of the pit we fell into in the 2019 general elections, we have changed the game and we are beginning to see the results,” Labor leader Keir Starmer told a group of supporters in Barnet on Friday. “It’s amazing to hear about these victories in London,” he told them.
The defeat of London has not been reflected in the rest of England, where the Conservatives seem to hold the type better than expected, even in those areas of the north, with a traditional left-wing vote – the so-called red wall -, which Johnson managed to conquer in 2019. “If you look at the general picture, the complete picture of the results, nothing seems to indicate that Labor has captured the necessary strength to aspire to form the next Government”, defended the president of the Conservative Party, Oliver Dowden, in the BBC. “Tony Blair scratched some 1,800 municipal representatives in 1995, two years before winning the general election”, he pointed out. Nothing to do with the nearly 300 seats that Keir Starmer’s Labor Party could end up winning, which must also compete with the Liberal Democrats. Already more than redeemed from the punishment suffered for years by its coalition with David Cameron’s Conservative government, the centrist formation has won almost 150 representatives, especially in the affluent south of England, and is establishing itself as a moderate alternative for those voters wary of turn left. The Green Party has also increased its municipal representation by more than fifty positions.
“It has been a tough night in some parts of the country, but in others we have been able to see advances by the Conservative Party, even in places where it had been a long time without getting votes,” said Johnson, in an attempt to detract from the drama of local elections that they always penalize the occupant of Downing Street.
Conservative politicians whose boroughs have suffered the worst defeat, have rushed to place full responsibility for what happened on the prime minister, and on the scandal of the partygate. “Citizens are concerned about serious national issues. The cost of living crisis is causing them serious concern, and I must say that issues such as the partygate it distracts too much attention from the most urgent local issues, ”said John Mallinson, a historic councilor from Carlisle, in the north of England, where Labor has triumphed at the polls this Friday. “It is clear that the prime minister has to answer some very difficult questions,” he told The Times Conservative MP for North London constituency, David Simmonds. “People were reacting very positively to the government’s policies, but they are not at all happy with everything they have heard about the partygate. He needs to show his face and respond”, he claimed to Johnson.
Waiting for Northern Ireland
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As of nine in the morning this Friday, the counting of the ballots deposited in the polls of Northern Ireland has begun, where 24 hours before elections were held that may be historic. All the polls have predicted a victory for the Sinn Féin party, which for decades was the political arm of the IRA terrorist organization, and which in recent years has moderated its message to give it an attractive social content. It would be the first time in almost a quarter of a century of autonomy in the region that the Republicans, supporters of the reunification of Ireland, are the most voted party. In accordance with the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which brought peace to the area, the position of Chief Minister is held by the party with the most support. The second assumes the position of Deputy Chief Minister, but the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has not made it clear whether it will be willing to follow the rules of the game or will once again boycott the formation of autonomous institutions. The first results will be known in the early hours of Friday afternoon.
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