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Tories may not win election, Sunak admits while claiming hung Parliament likely

06 May 2024 3 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Benjamin Cremel /PA Wire

Rishi Sunak has conceded the Conservatives may not win the next general election, as Tory rebels warned him to change his political course after defeats in the local polls.

The Prime Minister is braced for a continued fallout after the weekend’s local election results, which saw his party unexpectedly lose the West Midlands mayoral race to Labour.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Sunak suggested the UK was on course for a hung Parliament but claimed voters would not want to see Sir Keir Starmer “propped up in Downing Street” by the SNP or smaller parties.


Mr Sunak pointed to Sky News analysis of the local election results which suggested Labour would be the largest party in a hung Parliament, though voters in national polls tend to to behave differently, with fewer of them opting for smaller parties.

“These results suggest we are heading for a hung Parliament with Labour as the largest party,” Mr Sunak told The Times.

“Keir Starmer propped up in Downing Street by the SNP, Liberal Democrats and the Greens would be a disaster for Britain.

“The country doesn’t need more political horse trading, but action. We are the only party that has a plan to deliver on the priorities of the people.”

Former home secretary Suella Braverman urged the Prime Minister to change course rightwards to win back voters.

But she said a change of leadership was not a “feasible prospect”, adding: “There is no superman or superwoman out there who can do it.”

Among the measures Ms Braverman has urged the Prime Minister to adopt to win back voters are further tax cuts and a cap on legal migration.


Tory grandee Sir John Hayes signalled the Prime Minister should reshuffle his Cabinet, with his close ally Ms Braverman as a voice at the table for what he called the “authentic Tory part of the Conservative Party”.

But Conservative moderates warned against Mr Sunak lurching rightwards, with outgoing West Midlands mayor Andy Street claiming after his loss that “winning from that centre ground is what happens”.

Damian Green, chairman of the One Nation Group of Tory moderates, made a similar plea on the BBC’s Westminster Hour.

“I would just observe the seats that we have lost in the past few days – we lost to parties to the left of us. So I think suggesting that what we need to do is to move to the right is irrational in the face of the electorate,” he said.

Labour sought to dispel suggestions it would consider a coalition with the SNP after the next election.

Pat McFadden, the party’s national campaign co-ordinator, said: “Our aim is to win a majority, to govern, to meet the mood for change, and we’re not planning any alliances or pacts with anyone.”

The West Midlands result was a shock defeat for the Conservatives, with Lord Ben Houchen the sole remaining Tory mayor, in Tees Valley.

Mayoral contests

Labour dominated other mayoral contests across England, including in London and Greater Manchester, and took a Tory scalp by winning the Blackpool South by-election.

With the results of all 107 councils in England that held elections on May 2 declared, Labour has won 1,158 seats, an increase of more than 232.

The Liberal Democrats beat the Tories into second place, winning 552 seats, up nearly 100, a result hailed by party leader Sir Ed Davey as “stunning”.

The Tories are just behind on 515 seats, down nearly 400.

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20 days ago

Right, so bloke who has bet the house on a disgusting policy after trashing the UK, got his butt handed him the council elections, worst rating since Truss and Boris (and that is something), is now trying to set the narrative on a hung parliament and “that would bad” he says. This will be the spin then. Any press not challenging this, hand your lobby pass in. Remember, this is the bloke that lost to a lettuce, he was the last choice and put Braverman back in post and 30p as a deputy chair and now has Gullis as a… Read more »

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
20 days ago

Yeah right ! All the recent losses for the Tories point to a hung parliament. Who’s he trying to kid! 😂. You can bet this will now be the official Tory line right up to the election to ‘try’ and scare people into voting for them. Their entire focus will now be to save their arses and stay in power, the mess the country’s in will continue to be of little concern to them. This isn’t right and the country can’t take any more crap – we need a GE now.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
20 days ago

Lying again Mr Sunak ? It was very little voting for small extremist parties. What really happened is the Liberal democrats have pushed out the disastrous Tories into third place. Now, it would be great for a strong Plaid Cymru presence in the next Westminster parliament with a strong Liberal Democrat and Green presence in England. Just imagine Keir Starmer being held to account by Ed Davey, yes, must are going to have a reformed politics: Proportional Representation with STV, Fairer taxes, Better services and a decentralised economy with localised power and wealth. …And a green environment with the replacement… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
20 days ago

‘Hung’, by the ballot until they are no more…

Although multi-occupancy stocks on Westminster Bridge would go some way….

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
20 days ago

Would you trust this man and his dogs in a stand-off with Putin…!

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