Plymouth Labour hails 'fantastic' result and now calls for general election

Labour council leader Tudor Evans contemplates a successful evening for Plymouth Labour following the results of the May 2024 Plymouth local election
Labour council leader Tudor Evans contemplates a successful evening for Plymouth Labour following the results of the May 2024 Plymouth local election -Credit:Carl Eve

Plymouth’s Labour politicians have hailed a “fantastic” result for the party after it tightened its grip on the city council - and said it is time for a general election. Labour won 15 of the 19 seats available in the local election, with nine of those new victories.

It means the party now has 42 seats after gaining councillors in St Budeaux, Budshead, Plymstock Dunstone, Plymstock Radford, Ham, Honicknowle, Compton, Peverell and Southway. A jubilant Labour leader Tudor Evans said the result was a disaster for the Conservatives, who won just one seat, and said the result showed a public appetite for a general election - and a Labour government.

Cllr Evans said: “A fantastic night, one of the best we have had. Last year we gained nine, this year we have gained nine, so 18 gains in two years is fantastic. Significant tonight is this is the worst result the Conservatives have ever had in Plymouth. To win just one ward, Even the wipeout of 1995 they still won three seats in different wards."

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He added that his party's huge win at the polls was down to a number of factors, including the people of Plymouth having "had enough of the Tories". "They have had enough of the Tory government making life harder for them, not easier for them, not facing up to the problems," he said.

“I have to say we need to get rid of the Tory Government that is hell bent on making people’s lives a misery and install a changed Labour Party under Keir Starmer, who believes in public service and believes in the power of government for good.

"We need to refresh that in people’s memories, who might have become cynical about the ability of politics to transform lives and a Labour government, a changed Labour government, would actually drive faith back into public service, public life and our politics.”

He said: “Local elections don’t occur in a vacuum, so things that happen at national level of course play out locally. But also things that are happening locally are as a consequence of the area of government, so, for example, the cuts that we have endured in Plymouth over the last 14 years, from the austerity-driven Government, has robbed Plymouth of £750m of revenue support.

"That’s why there are no flowers in the flower beds, that’s why there are too many potholes, that’s why we can’t look after a lot of buildings of heritage, that’s why things are a bit untidy around the edges, because £750m, not out of the city council’s coffers but £750m that those Tories have taken away from Plymouth, is not in our economy any more.”

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Luke Pollard, Labour MP for Sutton and Devonport, hailed a “brilliant set of results”. He said: “Nine Labour gains shows there is real trust in the Labour Party, a real affection for the future of our city and I think that what we need is a general election.

"It’s obvious that people want to back a party that is talking, hopefully, with a real passion for Plymouth and with an ambition to change our city for the better: get Plymouth building again, sort out our NHS, make sure we have the public services people rely on - that hasn’t happened after 14 years of Tory government, let’s call a general election.

“We saw today people voting for a changed Labour Party under Keir Starmer, voting for a Labour council that is delivering for our city. But we also saw, and I saw this time and again as I was knocking on doors, people saying ‘and I want a general election’.

“I think people want change, I think Britain needs change, but most of all I think people want to have their say in who governs our country. Rishi Sunak doesn’t have a mandate, he wasn’t elected in a general election to be Prime Minister, the changes he is making aren’t popular, that is why people want a general election.

"What we have seen from the results today is if there is a general election called Plymouth will be returning two Labour MPs, not one, to Westminster. “

Fred Thomas, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the Moor View constituency at the next general election, was delighted by what he called “a near perfect night and a resounding message sent by the people of Plymouth that this Conservative government is failing them”.

He said: “People want change and this was a crystal clear message calling for a general election and to let us have the change that the people of Plymouth want.”