Brandon Lewis blames local election results on Brexit

English voters frustrated with the deadlock over Brexit have punished Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives as well as the main opposition Labour Party in local elections, early results showed on Friday.

The main parties "have been losing votes most heavily in those wards where they were strongest", with the Conservatives losing seats in southern England and Labour in the north.

At the last council poll in 2015, held on the same day as the general election, the Conservatives took 100 per cent of the seats.

Elsewhere, the Conservative Party has won six seats in four of the five wards outside Bexhill to declare - Brede and Udimore, Burwash and the Weald, Catsfield and Crowhurst and Eastern Rother.

There are two Liberal Democrats - a gain of one - and two independents councillors - a gain of two.

Paul Doughty, Conservative councillor who was re-elected to his seat in Strensall, said: "I think we have been given a kicking, quite frankly, but parliamentarians across the board are to blame for the national situation, not just the Conservative party".

Labour chairman Ian Lavery told the BBC that Brexit was "trumping" his party's arguments against austerity.

Cllr Donald told the Herts Ad: "My concerns would be that the Conservatives would try to under a lot of the policies we have implemented over the last few years".

Allen Brett, the Labour leader of the council, said: "We came defending 15 seats and ended up with 16, which is a great evening".

Polling experts have dubbed the results for the two main parties a "plague on both your houses", after Labour struggled in northern councils such as Sunderland, Burnley and Bolton.

Alfie Robinson, a second-year Art Historian at Downing, was one University student to have participated in the local elections, citing "transport, homelessness and the environment" as key factors behind his decision to vote for the Liberal Democrats in Market ward. It is a level of validation and I understand people are anxious about national politics, but I think they understood that there's very little I can do about that.

Heckler Stuart Davies, a Tory Party member and former county councillor, said he called for Mrs May to resign because of her handling of Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats took a significant lead there with Charlotte Bourne claiming 900 votes and John Trapp, 838 ahead of the Conservatives Matthew Shuter with 648.

All 54 seats are up for election.

But that message was resisted by pro-Remain figures in Labour, with Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson saying: "How does this narrative explain Labour losses to Lib Dems and Greens?" He said: 'Because we haven't been able to deliver Brexit on March 29, we are seeing these results. I don't know of an example of that anywhere else in the world.

  • Leroy Wright


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