Deflated Tory leader says Plymouth has fired a 'warning shot' ahead of general election

Cllr Andy Lugger, leader of Plymouth's Conservative Group -Credit:Radio Exe/LDRS
Cllr Andy Lugger, leader of Plymouth's Conservative Group -Credit:Radio Exe/LDRS

The leader of Plymouth's Conservative Group has said people in the city have fired a "warning shot of the shape of things to come in the general election", after Labour swooped to victory winning 15 of the 19 seats up for grabs.

Labour now hold 42 of the total of 57 seats on the council. Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans says the people of Plymouth want change and a general election cannot come soon enough.

The deflated leader of the Plymouth Tories, Cllr Andy Lugger, said this was the second year of being “deeply disappointed”, the Conservatives having lost control of the council in 2023. He said he felt people voted on national issues even though it was a local election.

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“The national picture has prevailed,” he said. “I do not think the parliamentary party have done anything overtly wrong. It’s more along the lines of political stagnation over 14 years of power and perhaps the people of Plymouth wanted a democratic change in Westminster.

"They may have used the local elections as a warning shot of the shape of things to come in the general election.”

Conservative city councillor and parliamentary candidate for South West Devon Rebecca Smith (Con, Plymstock Radford) said voters were cheesed off after a few tough years and defeat wasn’t a complete surprise as Plymouth was known to “flip flop” between the two main parties.

Labour made gains in St Budeaux, Budshead, Plymstock Dunstone, Plymstock Radford, Ham, Honicknowle, Compton, Peverell and Southway.

The Green Party retained Plympton Chaddlewood, while Independent Andrea Loveridge retained her Plympton Erle seat. In Plympton St Mary, Independent Sally Nicholson gained the seat from the Conservatives.

The Conservative won just one seat – Eggbuckland – which was the last to declare. The Conservatives, who controlled the authority just over a year ago, now have just seven seats. There are six Independents, and two Green Party councillors.

With no elections in 2025, and Labour only defending 11 seats in 2026, it means that they will retain power (bar by-election losses/defections) until May 2027.

Cllr Tudor Evans, leader of the council, said: “It was a fantastic night, one of the best we've had. Last year we gained nine. This year, we gained nine. So 18 gains in two years is fantastic.

"But as significant tonight, I think, was that this is the worst result the Conservatives have ever had in to win just one ward."