Tories lose Wandsworth as Boris Johnson faces backlash from own councillors
Sinn Fein is set for a historic win in Northern Ireland as voting was set to resume in the Assembly election.
The republican party had received the most first-preference votes as of Friday night, after voters went to the polls the day before.
Meanwhile over in England, Tory MPs have told Boris Johnson that he has lost the public’s trust and that momentum behind a challenge to his leadership is now “unstoppable”.
The warning was made after the Conservatives lost more than 340 councillors and a string of flagship councils, including the London boroughs of Wandsworth and Westminster. Since then, their losses continued to increase with the number close to 400.
Mr Johnson admitted the Tories had experienced a “tough night” in London and the south but insisted that the party had made “quite remarkable gains” elsewhere in the country, while Labour failed to make a breakthrough in its former ‘Red Wall’ heartland.
One Conservative former minister, who is mulling a no-confidence letter for the PM, told The Independent that shoring up support in the north of England cannot compensate for the crumbling of traditional strongholds.
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Labour ‘regained trust of Britons’, Welsh secretary says
The Labour Party is ready for government, the shadow secretary of state for Wales has said.
Jo Stevens told Times Radio: “What the results this week have shown is that we have regained the trust of the British public.
“For example, taking control of Barnet Council in London, which has a substantial Jewish population, demonstrates both to our party and to the country at large that Labour has changed under the leadership of Keir Starmer in the last two years and that we are ready for government. Taking control of Barnet Council is an obvious example.
“We will continue to try to prove to the British public that the Labour Party is a party that is ready for government.”
Zoe Tidman7 May 2022 08:52
SNP on Starmer ‘beergate’
Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster leader, has refused to say if Sir Keir Starmer should resign as Labour leader if he is found to have broken lockdown rules over “beergate”.
“There has to be sanctions for people who break the law, but we’re not talking about that yet – let’s wait and see what happens with that investigation,” he told BBC Breakfast.
Zoe Tidman7 May 2022 08:35
‘We must do better,’ education secretary says
Nadhim Zahawi also spoke about Tory election losses in the same interview, saying there are issues to address both locally and nationally.
“We will listen to those. We won’t be complacent,” the education secretary said.
“We will listen to what people are telling us. And we must do better.”
Zoe Tidman7 May 2022 08:22
Northern Ireland ‘very much part of United Kingdom family’, minister says
With republicans Sinn Fein the largest percentage of first-preference votes so far, the UK government could face an even greater constitutional headache in its relations with Northern Ireland in the coming months.
Nadhim Zahawi, a Cabinet minister, has discussed the Northern Ireland Protocol this morning in light of this.
“The important thing is to try and make sure we work with the parties in Northern Ireland, but also with the European Commission to make sure that we leave no stone unturned to try and make it work,” he told Sky News.
“We need to make sure that all our options are available to us because – ultimately – the thing to remember is Northern Ireland is very much part of the family that is the United Kingdom.”
Zoe Tidman7 May 2022 08:04
Sinn Fein looks set for best ever result
Counting is set to resume in the Northern Ireland Assembly election later with Sinn Fein firmly on course to emerge as the largest Stormont party.
When counting was suspended on Friday night, just 47 of the 90 seats had been filled following a lengthy process, with only four out of 18 constituency counts completed.
Sinn Fein was on course for its best ever result in such an election after receiving the most first-preference votes.
Alastair Jamieson reported last night:
Zoe Tidman7 May 2022 07:39
‘Britain’s far right roundly rejected’ in local elections
Far-right and conspiracy theorist political parties have won no council seats in the local elections this week.
Counter-extremist group Hope Not Hate called the results “disastrous” for parties – such as the anti-Islam For Britain party headed by former Ukip leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters.
Hope Not Hate added: “The UK’s electoral far right have been roundly rejected at the polls.”
Read the full story here by home affairs editor Lizzy Dearden
Lamiat Sabin7 May 2022 06:00
The papers splashing on ‘Beergate’ allegations against Starmer
Earlier – we posted the newspapers that had chosen to feature the local elections on their front pages.
Some made no mention of the local elections, and instead picked the ‘Beergate’ story in which Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been accused of breaking lockdown rules last year.
A few opted for a more balanced approach by splashing both stories on their front pages.
Lamiat Sabin7 May 2022 05:00
UK creates fossil fuel exemption to ‘ramp up’ aid for Ukraine
The UK will exempt Ukraine from its ban on providing public support for fossil fuel energy overseas as ministers look to make sure services can continue to operate during the protracted conflict.
It comes as ministers announced that hundreds more generators are to be delivered to keep hospitals, shelters and phone masts operating as Russia continues to bombard in an attempt to seize the east of Ukraine.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the energy-related announcements were part of policies aimed at “ramping up” support for Kyiv.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng
Officials said Ukraine and other parts of eastern Europe would benefit from time-limited exemptions to the UK Government’s international fossil fuel support policy to ensure Britain can join global efforts to keep the embattled country’s energy supplies topped up.
The policy prevents the UK providing any new direct financial or promotional support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas but ministers argued that exempting Ukraine would allow London to address the energy security impact of the conflict and quickly respond to requests for assistance.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the temporary measure could see the UK supporting Ukraine to ensure there is enough fuel for vehicles involved in food production and other basic services.
Ministers could also choose to help build up energy reserves ahead of winter.
Lamiat Sabin7 May 2022 04:00
Saturday’s papers: Local elections dominate the front pages
Lamiat Sabin7 May 2022 03:00
Watch: Sir Keir says ‘no breach of rules’ amid ‘Beergate’ claims
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer repeated his defence against allegations that he broke Covid lockdown rules last year.
He has been pictured with a beer in his hand during his party’s campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election in April 2021.
Sir Keir told the BBC: “As I explained a number of times, we were working in the office, stopped for something to eat, no party, no breach of the rules.
“Police obviously have got their job to do, let them get on with it. But I’m confident no rules were broken.”
Keir Starmer defends himself over covid lockdown breach
He was asked “what’s the difference between what you did and what Boris Johnson did?”
Prime minister Mr Johnson has been fined for attending lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street.
In response, Sir Keir repeated exactly what he had said less than a minute earlier.
Lamiat Sabin7 May 2022 02:00