Tories Brace for Historic Losses Following Budget Fallout

As the fallout from Rishi Sunak’s pre-election budget reverberates, the Conservative Party braces for substantial losses in the upcoming local elections. This signals a pivotal moment for his leadership and the party’s dwindling electoral prospects. Here’s the full story.

All Consuming

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The Conservative Party can sometimes appear like a zombie political party, lurching from crisis to crisis, driven by the simple yet all-consuming need to make it to the upcoming election. 

No Light

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However, for those unfortunate souls trapped within the Conservative Party apparatus, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and if a light does appear, it is likely to be an oncoming train. 

Lackluster Response

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Following a lackluster response to the recent pre-election budget, the Conservative Party’s next electoral challenge will be the upcoming local elections, scheduled to take place in May. 

Dire Polling Numbers

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The Conservative’s polling numbers are dire, a raft of sitting MPs are due to leave Parliament, and serious concerns are mounting that the Conservatives will experience an electoral wipeout. 

“Vaccine Bounce”

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Even recent victories, such as the seats secured during Boris Johnson’s celebrated “vaccine bounce” in 2021, when the then-recent rollout of the Covid vaccine gave a temporary bounce to Conservative polling numbers, now stand in jeopardy.

Never Before Seen

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Senior Tories are deeply apprehensive about the forthcoming local elections, with many privately predicting that the election will be a defeat never before seen for the modern Conservative Party. 

Weak or Ineffectual

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Rishi Sunak’s allies, ever watchful for the famed Tory urge to oust a leader who seems weak or ineffectual, fear that the local elections may prove to be the make or break point of his troubled leadership. 

Subdued Rebels

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However, even the usually rambunctious Tory rebels seem subdued, with many questioning whether removing Sunak and installing someone new to lead the party would have any meaningful effect on their predicted poor results. 

Pivotal Moment

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As the local elections creep closer, Sunak’s allies and adversaries will view these results as a pivotal moment for the Prime Minister, potentially shaping the landscape before the next general election.

Fiscal Sustainability

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Sunak’s budgetary measures, particularly his pledge to abolish national insurance contributions, have failed to garner widespread support and have even been criticized for their perceived lack of fiscal sustainability.

Benefit Cuts

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The subsequent announcement of further benefit cuts to finance this pledge has only exacerbated concerns within the party that the Prime Minister, who served as Chancellor under previous Prime Minister Boris Johnson, needs to get his numbers right.

Right to be Worried

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The Tories are right to be worried. Thousands of council seats across England are at stake in the upcoming elections, with projections indicating substantial losses for the Tories. 

Substantial Vote Loss

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An Opinium poll suggests a significant decline in the Tory vote share from 42% to 25%, with suitably dire outcomes predicted if any result as consequential as the survey suggests becomes a reality.

Grim Outlook

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Party officials acknowledge the grim outlook but are pinning their hopes on the general election, still unannounced but predicted to be held in the second half of the year. They hope that by then, the Conservatives will have some good economic news to offer the country. 

Local Elections

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Voters will be going to the polls to choose councilors for over 100 local council elections and regional mayoral elections. 

“Levelling Up”

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Several of these mayors have become symbols of the Conservative’s much-touted “levelling up” agenda, and the outcomes of these votes will be closely watched as a bellwether for the general election later this year. 

Significant Losses

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Experts anticipate significant losses for the Conservatives for the local elections based on the swing observed since 2021, suggesting a potential loss of half of their councilors and a majority of remaining councils. 

Factional Infighting

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The Conservative Party remains riven by factional infighting, and internal divisions persist regarding the potential repercussions of sticking with Rishi Sunak until the general election. 

Tepid Reception

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While some perceive his position as precarious due to the budget’s tepid reception, others express reluctance to initiate a leadership change amidst the party’s prevailing demoralization.

Steadfast Allies

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Despite these dissenting voices, Sunak’s allies remain steadfast in their support of the Prime Minister, confident in his ability to navigate the treacherous path up to the general election. 

Prioritizing Unity

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Though a few Conservative MPs are pushing for an epic about-face, many within the party are prioritizing unity and the slim chance of electoral success over the long, drawn-out reality of a leadership challenge. 

Critical Juncture

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The Tories are at a critical juncture, with electoral reality forcing them to stick with their current leader until the general election dust has settled. 

Win or Lose

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It remains to be seen if the local elections will elevate or further shake a party that seems unable to reach the public and whose internal divisions become more pronounced daily. 

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Grant Gallacher is a seasoned writer with expertise in politics and impactful daily news. His work, deeply rooted in addressing issues that resonate with a wide audience, showcases an unwavering commitment to bringing forth the stories that matter. He is also known for satirical writing and stand up comedy.

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