Labour wins Tory flagship council of Wandsworth for the first time since 1978

‘This was the Tories’ jewel in the crown’

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Friday 06 May 2022 05:34 BST
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and new leader of Wandsworth Council Simon Hogg
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and new leader of Wandsworth Council Simon Hogg (REUTERS)

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Labour has won the flagship Tory council of Wandsworth in London for the first time since 1978, as results of the local election began trickling in.

The seat first switched to the Conservatives a year before Margaret Thatcher’s election as prime minister and was reputedly her favourite council, renowned for its low taxes.

As the result became clear, a Labour source said: “Boris Johnson losing Wandsworth is monumental. This was the Tories’ jewel in the crown.”

“Voters in Wandsworth have put their trust in the change Keir Starmer’s Labour represents,” they added.

The outgoing Conservative leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia, said: “Let’s not be coy about it, of course national issues were part of the dilemma people were facing”.

He also told the BBC that “other events have clouded the judgement of people in Wandsworth… consistently on the doorstep the issue of Boris Johnson was raised”.

Just moments after the loss of Wandsworth, the Conservative leader of Barnet council, Daniel Thomas, conceded his party had also lost control of the council for the first time since 2002, saying it was a “warning shot” to the government.

After results were declared from 58 councils, the Tories had lost control of three authorities and were down 79 councillors, Labour had a net gain of two councils and 34 councillors, the Lib Dems had one extra authority and 34 more seats while the Greens had put on 19 councillors.

With dozens of Tory councillors losing their seats against a backdrop of the row about lockdown-busting parties in No 10 and the cost-of-living crisis, local Conservative leaders also criticised the Prime Minister.

John Mallinson, leader of Carlisle City Council which will be replaced by the new Cumberland authority, also 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”.

Elsewhere the Conservatives lost control of West Oxfordshire, where the party had held 27 of the 49 seats, after the Liberal Democrats made a series of gains.

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