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Friday, September 22, 2023

Close Call for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Local Polls, Avoids Wipeout

According to Sunak, the victory proved that the approaching election was not "done deal."

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UNITED KINGDOM: The Labour Party suffered a defeat in Britain’s parliamentary elections, as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak governed-Conservatives lost two seats but retained Boris Johnson’s old district. Sunak now has room to reduce Labour’s poll lead by addressing inflation and cost-of-living issues before the national election next year.

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According to Sunak, the victory proved that the approaching election was not “done deal.” He praised the victory as evidence of the national election’s unfinished nature, emphasizing the need to double down, stick to plans, and deliver for the people. The loss of the Selby and Ainsty Conservative parliamentary seats highlights the issue of the party’s scope.

Labour leader Keir Starmer praised the strong demand for change, while Sunak avoided losing three by-elections on the same day in over fifty years by winning Uxbridge and South Ruislip seats by less than 500 votes.

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With up to 18 months before the election, Sunak, a former finance minister and investment banker, aims to restore the Conservatives’ credibility through his technocratic leadership.

Sunak’s Conservatives is set for a potential election loss due to high inflation, economic stagnation, mortgage rates, industrial unrest, and long wait times for government-run health services. They are currently lagging Labour by 20 points in national polls, making it challenging for the governing party to win a fifth consecutive general election.

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The Uxbridge result, according to British pollster John Curtice, meant that a hung parliament was the most possible result of a national vote, and that Starmer might face greater internal disagreement within the party over his safety first stance.

Some members criticize him for his strict stance on public finances, refusing unbudgeted proposals, and abandoning projects he believes a Labour government cannot afford.

The Conservative Party faces a long way to stay in power in the next general election, according to Curtice. The Uxbridge by-election was held due to Johnson’s resignation from the House of Commons over misleading the public about Downing Street events.

Steve Tuckwell, the victorious Conservative candidate, emphasised local as compared to national concerns, chiefly the problem of London’s Labour mayor extending the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ), which resulted in some Uxbridge voters having to pay extra for cars.

The Conservatives’ weaknesses were revealed by the other election results on Friday, which included the loss of traditionally strongholds in the southwest and a rural seat in the north of England, despite the fact that the party had won sizable majorities in both regions in the previous general election in 2019.

After a Johnson ally quit in support of the former prime minister, Labour defeated the Conservatives by 4,000 votes in the Yorkshire constituency of Selby and Ainsty.

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