| 8 December 2023, Friday |

Local elections 2023: Tory losses a clear rejection of Rishi Sunak, says Labour

Heavy Conservative local election losses represent a “clear rejection” of Rishi Sunak in his first electoral test as prime minister, Labour has said.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer claimed his party was on course to win the next general election, expected next year.

The Tories lost 48 councils and more than 1,000 councillors across England in Thursday’s polls, exceeding their worst predictions.

Many Tories were angry at the scale of the losses, with some blaming Mr Sunak.

The seats up for grabs were mostly on district councils, responsible for services including bin collections, parks, public housing and planning applications.

The rest of the elections were for a mixture of metropolitan and unitary councils – single local authorities that deal with all local services – and for four mayors.

The elections were the first in England to see voter ID checks at polling stations. Some voters told the BBC they were turned away from polling stations, prompting critics to call for the ID rules to be dropped.