There’s no way of dressing it up: the local election results were not pretty for the Conservatives. Nowhere was that felt as starkly as across London – not ideal for the party, when around 40% of the total council seats being contested are here in the capital.
The Tory government’s response to hot political issues such as partygate and the cost of living crisis appears to have cost Conservative councillors – even those who saw the danger and appeared not to be taking their usually safe seats for granted.
Bucking the trend by lowering council taxes wasn’t enough to save Wandsworth, while those seeking to distance themselves from national politics by branding themselves as ‘local Conservatives’ found it did little for them. In the eyes of the voters, they are Tories and Tories alike, and a message has been sent to the top.
Boris Johnson admitted a “mixed” set of results, but any positives were to be found outside of London. Some argue the situation is irredeemable and it’s time for a distinct party to represent the Tories in London, in a similar way to how the Scottish Conservatives operate.
The local elections may have come along at a bad time for the Conservatives, exacerbating the tough results. But there is no guarantee London would be ready to turn blue any time soon.
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Earlier this week we asked whether the Crossrail project will be worth the wait. Evening Standard reader HappyChappy doesn’t think so: “It does nothing for South West London and should have continued from Heathrow to join with trains at Feltham or Hounslow, a wasted opportunity.”