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Public anger over Brexit row singes Tories, Labour

Conservatives suffered the largest reverses, losing a large number of seats as well as overall control of several councils. Labour, which has faced criticism over its vague stand on Brexit, also faced the backlash.

world Updated: May 03, 2019 16:09 IST
Brexit,Brexit row,Tories
The ruling Conservative and opposition Labour – the two main poles in British politics – suffered a backlash in elections to most local councils across England on Thursday, with voters clearly expressing their ennui over Brexit.(AFP)

The ruling Conservative and opposition Labour – the two main poles in British politics – suffered a backlash in elections to most local councils across England on Thursday, with voters clearly expressing their ennui over Brexit.

Conservatives suffered the largest reverses, losing a large number of seats as well as overall control of several councils. Labour, which has faced criticism over its vague stand on Brexit, also faced the backlash.

Smaller parties such as Liberal Democrats and the Green party emerged the biggest gainers.

As results trickled in overnight, winning and losing candidates said the main message they got while campaigning was anger over the continuing Brexit impasse – from those who voted to leave as well as from those who voted to remain in the European Union.

Brandon Lewis, chairman of the Conservative party, said voters had given his party a very clear message they were “fed up” with the Brexit deadlock, “they want us to get it done”. Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted “message received”, adding that politicians “need to get on sorting this out whichever way”.

Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats that has consistently opposed Brexit, said: “In big cities and rural England – in both Leave and Remain areas – we have shown ourselves the strongest campaigning force and the big winners of the night. Three party politics is back”.

The ‘three party politics’ refers to the David Cameron-led coalition government between the Conservative and Liberal Democrats between 2010 and 2015, when Cable was the business secretary and party leader Nick Clegg was the deputy prime minister.

The local elections were held in 248 English councils, besides for six city mayors and all 11 councils in Northern Ireland, with all results expected by Friday evening.

One of the candidates for the mayoral election in Leicester – the East Midlands city with a large population of Indian origin – is Amritsar-born Sandip Verma, who is a Conservative member of the House of Lords.

First Published: May 03, 2019 16:09 IST