We need to reflect and do more after local election losses, admits Culture Secretary

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer  (PA Wire)
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer (PA Wire)

The Culture Secretary has admitted the Government needs to reflect and do more after suffering huge losses in the local elections.

The Conservatives lost 48 councils, and more than 1,000 councillors were ousted, in a dismal result for the party on Thursday.

Labour gained 635 seats and took control of 22 councils, with the party saying its projected vote share put it on course to take power in the General Election in 2024.

Speaking to the BBC, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said the Tories “absolutely need to reflect” following the heavy defeats.

However, she said Rishi Sunak had only been prime minister for six months and the public were “slowly beginning to give the government and Rishi credit”.

Ms Frazer later told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “If we could look at the context for the whole local election, we’ve been in power for a long time.

“We’ve just had a pandemic which has disrupted many people’s lives and has had consequences for the economy, as has the war in Ukraine, which is going on.”

Pressed on whether she understood the scale of her party’s losses, she said: “Totally, it’s really important that we listen to people. I know people are frustrated and angry.”

She said she recognised the results were “not good”, adding: “I totally understand that we need to do better and I think we are going to deliver.”

The party was rebuilding trust as Mr Sunak was “starting to deliver in a quiet way” his five priorities including curbing inflation, Ms Frazer argued.

“I totally recognise we’ve had a really difficult few years.

“I do think that the Prime Minister, who’s now been in office for six months, is getting the country back on track and is delivering. I think we’re starting to gain the trust of the British public.”

Labour made significant gains from the Conservatives in the north of England and the Midlands, as well as taking southern councils such as Plymouth, Swindon, Dover and Medway.

They celebrated becoming the largest party in local government, which has not happened since the days of Tony Blair in 2002.

The Liberal Democrats also had a good showing in the south of England against the Tories, winning about 300 seats, and lifting their hopes of being kingmakers in any hung parliament at the next election.

Among their gains were Windsor and Maidenhead, the local council of the former prime minister Theresa May, and Stratford-upon-Avon, the seat of the former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi.