UK special election: Double blow to Sunak, Labor Party loses two Tory seats


LONDON (AP) – Embattled British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak He urged voters and his party to stick with him on Friday, when two English districts elected opposition-party MPs to seats that Sunak’s Conservative Party had held for years.

results will be bad fear among conservatives That, after being in power for 14 years, the party is headed for defeat when national elections are held in less than a year. The Tories consistently trail the centre-left Labor Party by between 10 and 20 points in opinion polls.

Labor candidate Damian Egan won the House of Commons seat of Kingswood in south-west England, and Labour’s General Kitchen won Wellingborough in the center of the country, according to results announced on Friday. The Conservatives won the last national election in 2019 by a wide margin, but Thursday’s special elections saw a decline in support.

Reform UK – formerly known as the Brexit Party – finished third, leaving the Conservatives facing pressure from right and left.

“Stick to our plan as it begins to deliver the change the country wants and needs,” Sunak said.

“As a country we’ve obviously gone through a lot over the last few years, but I really believe we’re pointed in the right direction at the beginning of this year,” he told reporters.

Labor leader Keir Starmer said the results “show that people want change.”

Elections will be held in more than 50 countries in 2024

Thursday’s elections replaced two lawmakers who left suddenly, one in protest, the other under suspicion.

administrator chris skidmore Left Kingswood seat last month in protest against Sunak Lack of commitment to green energy, Long serving Wellingborough MLA peter bone Was ousted over allegations of bullying and sexual misconduct.

The Conservatives have now lost 10 by-elections since the last general election, more than any administration since the 1960s. This includes six losses and one win since Sunak took office in October 2022. He replaced Liz Truss, who shook up the economy. Unfunded tax cut plan and remained in office for only seven weeks.

Sunak, the fifth Conservative leader since 2016, has restored some stability but failed to revive the governing party’s popularity.

The Conservatives have been in power nationally since 2010, years that saw austerity following a world banking crisis, Britain’s divisive decision to leave the European Union, a global pandemic and a European war that has led to the worst living wage crisis in decades. Gave.

Polls show the Conservatives are losing support across the country, from affluent southern voters turned off by Brexit to working-class northern voters who defected to Labor in the run-up to the 2019 election, when then-Prime Minister boris johnson Promised to spread prosperity to long-neglected areas.

Those promises have largely not been fulfilled and Britain’s economic growth, along with that of the country, has almost stalled slipping into recession In late 2023 for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. This limits the government’s scope to woo voters with pre-election tax cuts.

Egan said in his victory speech, “In Kingswood, like across the country, 14 years of Conservative government have sapped our country’s hope with the feeling that no matter how hard you work, you can’t get ahead. Can.” “It doesn’t have to be this way – you know it, I know it, we all know it.”

Conservative Party chairman Richard Holden called the results “very disappointing”, although the party said the low turnout – less than 40% of eligible voters voted – was a sign that British voters were not enthusiastic about Labour.

But polling expert John Curtice of Strathclyde University said the results confirmed the Conservatives were in “very, very big electoral trouble”.

“The Conservatives have to beat the historical record to get back to where they belong,” he told the BBC.

Conservative defeat may boost Sunak’s morale many rivals In quarreling party, who are already preparing themselves for the leadership contest that will likely follow their defeat in the elections. Some want Sunak out quickly, replacing him with a low-tax, low-immigration right-winger who can win back voters with reform who wants to curb immigration, cut taxes and go green. -Want to eliminate energy measures. Others have warned that imposing another unelected leader on the country could be counterproductive.

The only consolation for Sunak is that the Labor Party is also experiencing turmoil. Last week the party took an important step green investment pledgeSaying that the Conservatives have left the economy too weak to honor the commitment.

Starmer is also struggling to stamp out allegations of anti-Semitism within the party. party this week Rejected your candidate Another led to a special election, when a newspaper published his comments during a local party meeting, claiming that Israel allowed Hamas’ October 7 attack as a pretext. to attack Gaza,

Critics say it’s proof Labor hasn’t rooted it out Anti-Semitism that grew Under previous leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was a staunch supporter of the Palestinians and a critic of Israel. It is unclear in opinion polls whether the controversy has hurt Labour.


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