Senior Tories 'Looking Over Their Shoulders' As Lib Dems Make Huge Local Election Gains
Rees-Mogg, Gove and Raab
Senior Tory MPs have been warned that their seats are at risk after the Liberal Democrats enjoyed huge wins in the local elections.
The party secured major victories in the back yards of cabinet ministers Oliver Dowden, Michael Gove and Grant Shapps.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Dominic Raab, Nadhim Zahawi and Theresa May also saw the Lib Dems advance in their constituencies on a “dreadful” night for the Tories.
“Senior Conservative cabinet ministers are now looking nervously over their shoulders at the Lib Dems,” said a party source.
With counting over in more than 200 of the 230 councils up for grabs, the Lib Dems had won nearly 354 seats.
But it was the location of some of their most significant wins that will be causing alarm at Tory HQ.
Deputy prime minister Dowden saw his local council in Hertsmere go from Tory to no overall control, with the Lib Dems picking up six seats and Labour seven.
The Lib Dems said they had also “won big” in Surrey Heath, Gove’s constituency, to take control of the council from the Tories.
The Conservatives also lost control of Welwyn Hatfield, where Grant Shapps is the local MP, with both the Lib Dems and Labour making gains.
Former chancellor Zahawi saw the Lib Dems take control of Stratford-on-Avon in his constituency.
“Nadhim Zahawi now faces a Shakespearean tragedy in his own backyard,” said a Lib Dem spokesperson. “This incredible result shows just how fed up voters are with the endless stream of Conservative sleaze and scandal.”
Meanwhile, the party also said they were now 13 points ahead of the Tories in Rees-Mogg’s seat of North East Somerset.
Even former PM May saw her local council of Windsor and Maidenhead fall to the Lib Dems, while the party was also on course to become the biggest party in Elmbridge, where Dominic Raab is the local MP.
Polling expert Sir John Curtice calculated that if the local election results were repeated across the UK, Labour would have won 35%, with the Conservatives on 26% and the Liberal Democrats on 20%.
A Lib Dem spokesperson said the party was “the big winners of this year’s local elections”.
He added: “The Lib Dems are nipping at the Conservatives’ heels across the country.
“We are just six points behind the Tories nationally, putting us closer than at any point since 2005.”