• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Sunak warns of hung parliament, calls local poll results disappointing

In his first comments since the full extent of the party’s local election losses became clear, Sunak admitted that the results had been “bitterly disappointing” for the Conservatives.

Sunak said that the Conservatives remain the only party with a viable plan for governance despite internal divisions. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Rishi Sunak has suggested that Britain could face a hung parliament in the upcoming general election, urging Conservative MPs to unify in the face of Labour’s challenge.

In his first comments since the full extent of the party’s local election losses became clear, the prime minister admitted that the results had been “bitterly disappointing” for the Conservatives. The party lost nearly 500 council seats and the West Midlands mayoralty.

Following the Conservative Party’s significant losses in the recent local elections, Sunak acknowledged the disappointment and said that the results had been “bitterly disappointing” for the party. The Conservatives lost nearly 500 council seats.

However, he took the opportunity to highlight projections by elections expert Michael Thrasher indicating that Labour might fall short of gaining enough seats for a majority in a general election, reported The Times.

Sunak admitted the possibility of losing the Conservative Party’s majority but emphasised that voters wouldn’t want to see Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer leading with support from other parties like the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, and the Greens.

He countered earlier criticism from within the party, asserting that the Conservatives remain the only party with a viable plan for governance despite internal divisions.

“These results suggest we are heading for a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party,” he told the newspaper.

“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,” he said.

Sunak downplayed the severity of the situation, referencing analysis from Sky News suggesting a narrow gap between the Conservatives and Labour in terms of vote share.

Acknowledging voter frustration, Sunak expressed determination to demonstrate the government’s commitment to delivering on its promises.

“I know the last few years have been tough, and I understand why people are frustrated,” he said.

“Losing good Conservative councillors and a mayor as fantastic as Andy Street who has done so much good for the West Midlands is of course bitterly disappointing.

“But I am determined to show people that we are delivering for them, and standing up for our values,” he told the newspaper.

Labour has called for a general election announcement by Sunak after significant gains in the local elections, and also securing a seat in the parliament in the bypoll.

Party leader Keir Starmer said the party’s parliament seat win in Blackpool South in northwest England sent a clear message to Sunak.

“Voters in Blackpool South have sent a direct message to Rishi Sunak: make way, let’s have a general election. Only Labour can get Britain’s future back,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

The next election must be held by 28 January 2025 as the current parliament dissolves on 17 December 2024 and 25 working days are then allowed to prepare for the election.

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