Tories head into local elections with porn MP scandal on top of partygate

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Rob Pinney/PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Rob Pinney/PA) (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson is focusing minds on bins, potholes and council tax as the Tories enter the final days before the local elections with a new scandal adding to partygate.

Conservative MP Neil Parish announced his resignation on Saturday as he admitted twice watching pornography in the House of Commons.

The fresh embarrassment came as activists canvas for votes for a Tory party led by a Prime Minister fined by police for breaching his own coronavirus laws.

Polls in 200 local authorities across Britain open on Thursday, in a chance for voters to register their disapproval, or their support.

Neil Parish (UK Parliament/PA) (PA Media)
Neil Parish (UK Parliament/PA) (PA Media)

Sir Keir Starmer will also be under pressure, as a failure to make inroads will lead to questions over his ability to deliver Labour back to power.

Mr Johnson will hope voters prioritise his perceived successes, such as the vaccine rollout and Brexit, rather than the lockdown breaches and tax hikes amid a cost of living crisis.

In a statement released ahead of the polls, the Prime Minister said: “The elections next Thursday matter. People are voting for councillors and councils who decide how often bins are collected, how many potholes are repaired and how much council tax is paid.

“And I have to tell you that its hardworking Conservative councillors and councils across the country who deliver better local services while managing taxpayers’ money wisely.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

“The choice on May 5 is clear. Labour and Lib Dems who fritter away your council tax on deciding which statues to tear down, or Conservatives, delivering value for money and delivering on your local priorities.”

The Liberal Democrats were calling for the Government to announce an emergency tax cut in the upcoming Queen’s Speech, in an attempt to focus attentions on the dent in pay packets caused by the Tories’ national insurance hike.

Sir Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Leader, said: “This should be a cost-of-living Queen’s Speech. After a Budget that did nothing to ease the pressure of rising energy bills, struggling families across the UK cannot wait any longer for the Government to act.

“People are facing a cost-of-living emergency, and they need an emergency tax cut now.”

Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden was accusing Labour of standing down candidates in a secret election “pact” with the Lib Dems.

But it was unclear whether Labour was just focussing its talent and resources on areas it is more likely to win.

A Labour spokeswoman said: “We’re in the business of winning elections with labour candidates driven by labour values.”

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