Labour hail victory in Rishi Sunak’s electoral backyard

Labour have hailed as “historic” a victory in Rishi Sunak‘s electoral backyard as Labour's David Skaith has won the York and North Yorkshire mayoral election.

The Conservative leader is the MP for Richmond in Yorkshire. A Labour Party spokesperson said the prime minister’s own constituents had chosen Labour over the Tories.

A Labour spokesperson said: “This is a truly historic result in York and North Yorkshire. Keir Starmer's Labour party is now winning in Rishi Sunak’s backyard. The Prime Minister’s own constituents have taken a look at the two parties and chosen Labour.”

It comes after Sir Keir urged Sunak to “make way” and call a general election, as he hailed a “seismic” by-election win in Blackpool South on Friday morning.

Sir Keir said Labour’s win, in the contest to replace ousted Tory MP Scott Benton, was “truly historic” and the “most important result” nationally.

The Tories have lost 217 councillors across the country so far, compared with a Labour gain of 91. Fifty-three out of 107 councils have been accounted for.

The result adds to Mr Sunak’s woes as he faces losing a near ‘catastrophic’ number of council seats.

Keir Starmer told Mr Sunak to make way and call a general election (Getty Images)
Keir Starmer told Mr Sunak to make way and call a general election (Getty Images)

Election experts have warned the Tories could be on course to lose 500 seats in what would be their worst performance in 40 years.

Earlier, Sir Keir Starmer hailed the "seismic win" for Labour in the Blackpool South by-election, where the party secured a 26.33 per cent swing.

The result was the third biggest swing from the Conservatives to Labour at a by-election since the Second World War.

Mr Skaithe has been elected as the region’s first leader with 35.1 per cent of the vote, compared with the Tory candidate’s 27.3 per cent.

The prime minister has maintained a brave face despite the disastrous results insisting he was “focused completely on the job at hand” and that Labour had still not done enough to be on track to win the general election.

Mr Sunak congratulated re-elected Tory Mayor Ben Houchen despite the Tees Valley candidate not acknowledging him during his victory speech.

The prime minister welcomed his “friend” and claimed Tees Valley wanted the Tory party to stick to the “plan that’s working” in a post on X.

This is despite Mr Houchen avoiding any mention of his party or Rishi Sunak as he thanked voters for “backing my plan for the next four years”. He also claimed to have forgotten to wear a blue rosette during the speech.

Mr Sunak said on X: “Huge congratulations to my friend Ben Houchen. Tees Valley want us to stick with the plan that’s working: Jobs up. Airport saved.

Ben Houchen snubbed his party and Rishi Sunak in his victory speech (PA)
Ben Houchen snubbed his party and Rishi Sunak in his victory speech (PA)

“Steelmaking back. Darlington Economic Campus. Excited for Ben to keep delivering more jobs and opportunities for local people.”

Mr Houchen held on in the north east but the swing to Labour would see the parliamentary seats won by the Tories in 2019 fall to Labour.

Lord Houchen got 81,930 votes (53.6 percent) and his Labour rival Chris McEwan 63,141 (41,3 percent) - a considerable collapse in his vote which was 78.8 percent in 2021.

He also made it clear he would work with whoever becomes prime minister including Sir Keir Starmer.