UK votes in local elections that put Johnson to the test

The citizens of the United Kingdom vote this Thursday in a partial municipal election that will serve as a barometer of the mandate of the Conservative Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, whose leadership is in question after being fined for participating in illegal parties in Downing Street during the pandemic.

On a sunny day in much of the country, millions of people in England elect 4,360 councilors in 146 consistories (out of a total of 333) disputed for the last time in 2018, many of them within London, where, however, the mayor is not renewed , Labor Sadiq Khan, re-elected in other elections last year.

In Scotland, where Labor hopes to surpass the “Tories” as the second force behind the independentists, all of its 32 councils are in contention, as well as the 22 of Wales, a territory in which Keir Starmer’s formation aspires to expand its advantage.

Regional elections are also being held in Northern Ireland, where polls indicate that Sinn Féin, the former political arm of the now inactive IRA and supporter of the reunification of the island of Ireland, could win for the first time.


This is the first appointment with the polls since the scandal of the celebrations that violated the anticovid regulations in Johnson’s offices broke out at the end of 2021 – an infraction of which Starmer is now also accused – and since on February 24 The war started in Ukraine.

Also dominating in these elections, according to the polls, is the loss of purchasing power of the population due to the rise in energy prices and the increase in inflation.

However, Ella Robertson-McKay, a member of the Conservative Party in the central London neighborhood of Westminster, considers that none of this will affect the result, which will be known between the early hours of Friday and the afternoon of Saturday.

“What people really wanted to talk about during the campaign is garbage collection, social services or holes in the road,” he told Efe at the gates of a polling station.

The district of Westminster, held by the “Tories” since its creation in 1964, is one of those that Labor covets, along with Wandsworth and Barnet, although the 30-year-old sees “very unlikely” that they will achieve it.

“Our council is very well managed. We have very low taxes and excellent services,” he maintains.

In his opinion, criticism of the prime minister for allegedly misleading Parliament will not necessarily take votes away from the conservatives in these elections, because they are offset by his “strong support” for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “It makes me feel proud,” she says.


The revels in Downing Street, as well as the cases of sexual misconduct between several Conservative MPs, do weigh on the voters, mostly Labor, of Bethnal Green, in east London.

“This government lacks ethics. Don’t these ‘Tories’ realize that they can’t play, as if they were in the schoolyard, with their wars, their parties and their pornographic hobbies?” says Margaret Graham, teacher of 50 years.

Although she votes Labour, Graham is also unenthusiastic about Starmer, whom she sees as “lazy”.

In his opinion, the two great British parties are anchored in “old” points of view derived “from patriarchy” in which “everything is black or white”, with no place for “innovation and alternative thinking”, he tells Efe.

Her neighbor Eileen Short would also like to see “the Conservatives go bust” electorally, but she doesn’t trust the opposition leader.

Since he came to the leadership in April 2020 to replace the radical Jeremy Corbyn, “he has purged the left,” he laments.

“With Starmer it is a return to the time of (former Labor Prime Minister Tony) Blair, with the war in Iraq, the privatizations of public services and the fragmentation of education and the health system,” he recalls.

In another school in the nearby neighborhood of Hackney, David Smith, a 48-year-old security guard, instead declares himself a “fan” of the Labor leader, while condemning Johnson: “He has to go now. He is a liar who just think of him and his friends,” he says.

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UK votes in local elections that put Johnson to the test