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Starmer Calls for General Election as Labour Triumphs in Local Races Amid Conservative Setbacks

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Starmer urges Sunak to address the public as Conservatives face setbacks in by-election and local government contests. The Prime Minister admits the initial outcomes are "disappointing" for his party, yet emphasizes his commitment to his duties, highlighting the retention of the Tees Valley mayoral position by the Conservatives.

Friday, May 3, 2024, 6:

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Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer has reiterated his call for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to hold elections following significant losses for Sunak's party in a recent by-election and numerous local government defeats throughout England.

The Opposition has claimed a triumph in the area represented by the Tory leader, securing a win in the race for the York and North Yorkshire mayor, a region that encompasses his Richmond constituency.

Although Mr. Sunak acknowledged that the initial poor outcomes were "disappointing" for the Conservatives, he emphasized his total commitment to his current responsibilities and highlighted the party's success in retaining the Tees Valley mayoralty.

Sky News' election expert, Professor Michael Thrasher, has indicated that while the Labour Party is projected to emerge as the largest party in the upcoming general election, it is unlikely to secure an outright majority.

Stay updated: Tracking the incoming results live

Boosted by their success in crucial council districts including Hartmoor, Rushmoor in Hampshire, Redditch in the West Midlands, and Thurrock in Essex, Sir Keir announced that Labour's significant victory in the Blackpool South by-election served as a clear signal to the prime minister.

Chris Webb secured the Lancashire constituency, achieving the third-largest shift from the Conservatives to Labour in a by-election since World War II.

Sir Keir informed Sky News, "It's clear that the nation is clamoring for a change at this point. I believe it's now up to the prime minister to let the country manifest that desire through a general election."

Sky's plan for covering the election – ways to stay updated

Friday: Starting at 10am, main political host Sophy Ridge and leading anchor Mark Austin will be accompanied by political chief Beth Rigby and Sam Coates all day. They will also be joined by economics and data chief Ed Conway and Professor Michael Thrasher.

Friday evening: Join Sophy Ridge from 7pm to 9pm for a special broadcast of Politics Hub, where she will provide a comprehensive review and insights into the local election results.

This weekend, tune in for a special edition of the Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge, broadcasting Saturday from 7 to 9 pm. Then, join Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips as they recap the week's events, airing from 8:30 to 10 am.

How can you tune in? Check us out on Freeview 233, Sky 501, Virgin 603, BT 313, or stream us on YouTube, and through the Sky News website and app. You can also catch the live broadcast right here or on YouTube.

The Electoral Dysfunction podcast featuring Beth Rigby, Jess Phillips, and Ruth Davidson is scheduled for release on Friday, while Politics at Jack and Sam's will tackle the significant issue of the implications of the results as we approach a general election, airing on Sunday.

Stay updated with the newest developments on our politics page.

In the recent Blackpool South by-election, the Conservative Party barely managed to secure second place, closely followed by Reform UK.

Conservative leaders contend that the survey was conducted under "especially challenging" conditions, which arose after the departure of ex-Conservative MP Scott Benton amid a lobbying controversy.

Addressing an audience at a military base in North Yorkshire, Mr. Sunak expressed, "Clearly, it's disheartening to see the loss of diligent Conservative councillors. I appreciate their dedication to local governance, their efforts in maintaining low council tax, and their service to the community."

He also emphasized that many outcomes were still pending.

Enter your local council name or postcode to discover the outcome for your area.

In the Tees Valley mayoral race, incumbent Conservative Ben Houchen successfully secured re-election, overcoming a strong challenge from the Labour Party.

The Conservative member secured the position with a total of 18,789 votes, although this number was significantly lower than in 2021.

Mr. Sunak promptly expressed his delight at the win and extended his congratulations.

In a recent update on social media, he stated: "Tees Valley is keen on maintaining the current successful strategy… Looking forward to Ben continuing to create additional employment and prospects for the community."

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At a victory rally in Teesside, Mr. Sunak issued a caution to the Labour Party, stating: "They are aware that winning here is crucial for their success in the general election.

"They thought Tees Valley would easily return to their fold, but that wasn't the case.

Individuals were aware that they should not be overlooked.

The constituents recognized that it was Ben and the Conservative Party who came through for them. They supported you during this election. And I am confident that during the upcoming general election, they will continue to support us as well, because they refuse to be overlooked.

Discover further: Identifying the victors and the defeatedVisual data illustrates the Tory downfallWho is the new Labour representative for Blackpool South?

The leadership of the Conservative Party will be eager to see if these measures suffice to soothe the unrest among their uneasy MPs, especially if Conservative Andy Street is successful in maintaining control of the West Midlands.

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The significant performance of Reform, overshadowing the Conservatives, is expected to cause some discomfort.

Conservative Party Chairman Richard Holden stated to Sky News, "It's clear that votes going to Reform will benefit Labour in the context of a general election."

The Conservative Party will likely be disappointed by their loss in the race for the newly established mayoral position in York and North Yorkshire, where Labour secured the office with a lead of nearly 15,000 votes.

Sir Keir celebrated the win, describing it as an "exceptionally significant moment" in a region he referred to as "the core of Conservative stronghold," which also includes Mr. Sunak's Richmond constituency.

He noted that the victory serves as a "validation" for the Labour Party and demonstrates that "people are tired of an unsuccessful government."

Primary outcomes are:

Sir Keir admitted that internal disagreements regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict had affected the party's backing in some regions.

He remarked, "In certain areas, that's a significant influence, and I acknowledge and appreciate that."

"In areas where our support has declined, we plan to regain those votes by dedicating ourselves to diligent efforts, much like our approach to past challenges."

"However, it's undeniable that this represents a highly positive outcome for the Labour Party."

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