UK local elections 2022 – live: Tories may lose ‘hundreds’ of seats, s…

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Boris Johnson ‘out of touch’ over cost of living crisis, says Keir Starmer

The Conservatives are on course to lose “hundreds” of seats, an elections guru warned ahead of surveys opening across the UK today.

In an article for The Independent, Sir John Curtice warned that the Conservatives were on course to suffer major losses in the first big test of public opinion since the Partygate scandal hit headlines.

Meanwhile, the leader of one grassroots Tory group told The Independent that anger about the No 10 parties, topped up by fears over rising living costs, pointed to the party’s supporters staying at home on Thursday.

“People most affected by lockdown – those who missed weddings and funerals – nevertheless consider it a scandalous disgrace, and now they are feeling the impact of higher taxes and energy costs in addition,” said John Strafford, head of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy.

It follows claims from Angela Rayner that Tory election candidates are ashamed to be connected with the chief minister, by running as “local Conservatives” and pleading with voters not to “punish” them for the Partygate scandal.

“It speaks volumes that Boris Johnson’s own Conservative candidates are ashamed to be associated with him and trying to pull the wool over voters’ eyes,” Labour’s deputy leader said.

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Labour to make gains in meaningful battleground, new predictions suggest

Labour is expected to make gains in meaningful election battlegrounds in England but likely at a slower speed across its former northern heartlands, new predictions suggest.

According to a survey by YouGov, “they will make healthy seat gains [today] but council wins may be harder to come by”.

The soaring cost of amenities and Whitehall’s lockdown-busting parties are expected to be the issues at the spotlight of voters’ minds as they head to the surveys.

But how will they impact the outcome? My colleague Emily Atkinson explains in this report:

Namita Singh5 May 2022 04:31


UK and Japan set to agree ‘landmark’ new defence agreement

Boris Johnson will great number the Japanese chief minister in London on Thursday as the two are set to agree a “landmark” new defence agreement.

Fumio Kishida’s first official visit at the invitation of the government is due to be marked with a guard of honour and an RAF flypast over central London.

Downing Street said the leaders are expected to agree in rule a “landmark” reciprocal access agreement (RAA), which would allow Japanese and British forces to deploy together to carry out training, joint exercises and disaster relief activities.

Emily Atkinson5 May 2022 03:30


Watch: George Eustice says Tories have done ‘what we can’ for cost of living crisis

George Eustice says Tories have done ‘what we can’ for cost of living crisis

Emily Atkinson5 May 2022 02:30


The latest round of local elections predictions are in…

The cost of living crisis and the Partygate scandal are expected to be the issues at the spotlight of voters’ minds as they head to the surveys in the morning – but how might they impact tomorrow’s outcome?

At it stands, Labour currently controls 67 councils to the Conservatives’ 46.

But according to most recent YouGov projections, as presented by Sky News’ deputy political editor Sam Coates, Labour are on track to make potentially meaningful gains in London.

In the capital, Labour swing predictions include Wandsworth, Westminster and Barnet – areas described by the broadcaster’s Sophy Ridge as the “Conservative jewels.”

But the picture outside London looks much less promising for Labour, with little sign of progress at all in Labour’s former heartlands in the north of England.

The complete video is obtainable to watch here:

Emily Atkinson5 May 2022 01:30


I was told my body parts got me the job, female former minister says

A Conservative former minister has said she was told soon after being appointed to the role that she had “only been given that job because of certain body parts” she had.

Caroline Nokes, chairwoman of the Women and Equalities Committee, said: “I can remember being told when I was a very new minister that I’d only been given that job because of certain body parts that I had – and that’s what people were saying to my confront.

“Who knows what they were saying behind my back.”

Jane Dalton has the story:

Emily Atkinson5 May 2022 00:30


Watch: Sadiq Khan says Grant Shapps ‘needs to grow up’ over Elizabeth Line announcement

Sadiq Khan says Grant Shapps ‘needs to grow up’ over Elizabeth Line announcement

Emily Atkinson4 May 2022 23:30


Martin Lewis condemns minister’s ‘patronising’ advice to buy value food brands amid cost-of-living crisis

ecosystem secretary George Eustice said on Wednesday morning that shoppers should choose value brands in supermarkets to “contain and manage their household budget”.

Mr Lewis, the founder of said it was “bulls**t” to suggest people on the lowest incomes did not already know to shop cheap and do that.

Speaking to Andrew Marr on LBC about Mr Eustice’s comments, he said: “What is wrong is the concept that the people that are on the lowest incomes who are choosing between whether they freeze or starve, don’t know that and don’t do that, that’s the bulls***.”

Emily Atkinson4 May 2022 22:30


Screenshot claims to show Hartlepool council proportion purdah-breaking information

A screenshot of a Facebook post from Hartlepool Borough Council claims to proportion quotes from its returning officer, Denise McGuckin, openly announcing a new “flagship leisure development” and endorsing the Conservative Mayor, Ben Houchen.

The post contained in the screenshot appears to have been deleted from the council’s Facebook page.

The Independent has approached Hartlepool Borough Council for comment.

Emily Atkinson4 May 2022 21:31


Opinion: How the local elections could make or break Boris Johnson

At first to peek briefly, the omens are not good for Boris Johnson. His party shows no sign of recovering the poll rule it enjoyed in this parliament until his probity and ethics became the subject of controversy. On average the Conservatives currently trail Labour by six points. That represents as much as a nine-point swing since the 2019 general election, writes John Curtice.

However, this week’s elections are very different from the general election. Most of the seats up for grabs in England were last fought over in May 2018, when Theresa May was trying to keep her fractious party together on Brexit, while Jeremy Corbyn was fending off claims of antisemitism.

Emily Atkinson4 May 2022 20:30


Press watchdog IPSO rufuses all complaints about Angela Rayner Mail article after more than 6000 objections

The press watchdog has rejected all complaints about an article claiming Angela Rayner crossed and uncrossed her legs in the Commons in a bid to distract Boris Johnson.

Anonymous Tory MPs quoted in a Mail on Sunday article claimed the deputy Labour leader tried to knock the chief minister “off his stride” during chief Minister’s Questions by “crossing and uncrossing her legs” in a scene presumably reminiscent of the film Basic Instinct.

The article, headlined “Stone the crows! Tories accuse Rayner of Basic Instinct ploy to distract Boris”, sparked outrage across the political spectrum, with many branding it misogynistic.

My colleague Chiara Giordano reports:

Emily Atkinson4 May 2022 19:25

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