Boris Johnson faced a backlash from local Tory leaders as his party lost major London authorities to Labour and suffered setbacks across England.
Sir Keir Starmer’s party further strengthened its grip on the capital, taking the totemic Tory authority in Wandsworth, making a significant breakthrough in Barnet and closing in on Westminster City Hall.
As dozens of Tory councillors lost their seats against a backdrop of the row about lockdown-busting parties in No 10 and the cost-of-living crisis, local Conservative leaders criticised the Prime Minister.
John Mallinson, leader of Carlisle City Council hit out after Labour took control of the new Cumberland authority which will replace it.
He told the BBC: “I think it is not just partygate, there is the integrity issue.
“Basically I just don’t feel people any longer have the confidence that the Prime Minister can be relied upon to tell the truth.”
In Portsmouth, where the Tories lost four seats, Simon Bosher the leader of the Conservative group said Mr Johnson should “take a good, strong look in the mirror” because “those are people that are actually bearing the brunt on the doorstep of behaviour of what’s been going on in Westminster”.
Ravi Govindia, leader of the Wandsworth Tories, said: “Let’s not be coy about it, of course national issues were part of the dilemma people were facing.”
Before the final results were declared in Barnet, the Conservative group leader Daniel Thomas conceded defeat, saying the loss was a “warning shot” from his party’s supporters.
“Clearly if Labour are to get a majority in Parliament they need to win Barnet,” he said.
“They won the council, if they win our parliamentary constituencies as well, then it doesn’t bode well for us to form a Government in future general elections.”
Labour said it was on course for victory in Westminster and a senior Tory source admitted “we will lose it”.
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