Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Labour wins three flagship Conservative London boroughs

General view of an election count (Paul Marriott/PA)
General view of an election count (Paul Marriott/PA)

The Labour party has won control of three flagship Conservative London boroughs in the local elections.

Wandsworth and Barnet borough councils, and Westminster City Council, all previously controlled by the Conservatives, are now in Labour hands.

It is the first time Labour has ever won Barnet and Westminster since both councils were created in the 1960s.

The new Labour leader of Wandsworth suggested his party’s victory signalled “time for a change” at the top of Government.

Barnet’s Conservative group leader said the result did not “bode well” for the Conservatives at the next general election, as the partygate scandal and the cost of living crisis impacts on the party’s vote share.

Labour victories in the three London councils are regarded as a bellwether for the party’s performance at the next general election.

Wandsworth first turned blue in 1978 and has been in Tory control ever since, until Labour’s overnight gain.

POLITICS Elections
(PA Graphics)

Reportedly Margaret Thatcher’s favourite Conservative council, the authority was an early proponent of Thatcherite policies, including the right-to-buy and the privatisation of local services.

Wandsworth boasts one of the lowest average council tax rates in England, with Boris Johnson pointing to the low rates as an example of Conservative party competence in local office.

A Labour party source described the loss as “monumental” for the Conservatives.

“This was the Tories’ jewel in the crown,” they added.

The borough’s new Labour leader Simon Hogg promised to “build a compassionate council that truly listens, and keep that same low council tax”.

He added: “When we were calling around on voters we didn’t even have to raise partygate, we didn’t have to mention Boris Johnson. People have formed their own views on this Government, so I am afraid it is time for change at the top as well.”

Barnet council has only ever been in Conservative control since it was created in 1964.

In 2014, Labour came close to gaining control, but the Tories retained a narrow majority.

In 2018 the gap between the ruling Conservatives and the Labour opposition widened, with concern among the north London borough’s large Jewish population about the Labour antisemitism scandal cited as a reason.

Ahead of the result, leader of the Labour group on Barnet council Barry Rawlings told the BBC: “I’ve been feeling confident for a while, I think we’ve had a very good campaign, got good candidates, it feels good on the streets.”

He said the “stain” of antisemitism had been removed from the party under Sir Keir Starmer, who launched his party’s London election campaign in Barnet.

Conceding defeat, the Conservative leader of Barnet, Daniel Thomas, said Labour’s gain was a “warning shot” from Tory voters.

He added: “Clearly if Labour are to get a majority in Parliament they need to win Barnet. 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.”

Westminster City Council had been in Conservative hands since the authority was created in 1964.

The symbolically-important council oversees local services on Parliament’s doorstep.

The Conservative party also lost several seats in Hillingdon, the borough which covers Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, although it retained control of the council.

In Richmond, the Tories won only one seat on the newly redrawn council, with the Liberal Democrats winning the majority.

Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from the Press and Journal Politics team

More from the Press and Journal