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UK facing 'disaster' of hung Parliament, warns Rishi Sunak after local election debacle

1 month ago 66

LONDON: Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak

warned on Monday that an analysis of the

local election

results shows the country is headed for a

hung Parliament

led by the Opposition

Labour Party

, which "would be a

disaster

for Britain". The 43-year-old British Indian leader told 'The Times' in the wake of a debacle for the governing

Conservative Party

, who lost hundreds of local council seats and key mayoralties across England in results over the weekend, that he was bitterly disappointed but determined to fight back.

He sought to paint a less bleak picture for party rebels, demanding a change of political course to win back voters in time for a general election, expected later this year.
"These results suggest we are heading for a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party," Sunak told the newspaper.
"[Labour Leader] Keir Starmer propped up in Downing Street by the SNP [Scottish National Party], 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 with a plan to deliver on the priorities of the people," he insisted.

He went on to acknowledge the frustration of the voters because of a tough few years due to a cost-of-living crisis and soaring household bills, which had made them less inclined to vote for Tory councillors and mayors in the polls last Thursday.
"I know the last few years have been tough, and I understand why people are frustrated. 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 said.

After the final votes were counted on Sunday, the Tories had lost control of 10 councils and more than 470 council seats. They also lost 10 Police and Crime Commissioners, with most of the gains made by Labour and the Lib Dems who pushed the Tories to the third position.
In an apparent message for the rebellious voices from the Conservative backbenches, being led by former home secretary Suella Braverman who has demanded the Prime Minister move on from "managerialism" and show strong leadership, Sunak added: "There's work to do and more progress to be made and I am determined that we will come together as a party and show the British people we are delivering for them."
Sunak's comments on a hung Parliament reflect analysis by leading psephologist Professor Michael Thrasher for 'Sky News', which suggested Labour would win 294 seats at a general election, short of the 326 for a majority.
The projection, which some other polling experts have dismissed, used the local election results to project a nationwide estimate of vote share at a general election.
It assumes everyone would vote the same way at a general election as in last week's local elections when smaller parties and Independent candidates tend to do better in local elections. It also does not consider what could happen in Scotland, instead using the results of the 2019 general election, while Labour is expected to do much better there this year.
However, polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice told the BBC winning more seats in Scotland on its own probably would not be enough to secure a majority for Labour.
Meanwhile, Sunak has averted any immediate threat to his leadership, as there is little appetite among the rebels in his camp to unleash another upheaval ahead of a general election - now around the corner and expected any time in the second half of the year.

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