Britain’s Tories are taking in the bad news at a brisk pace. On Friday December 2, they suffered a brutal electoral slap, Labor winning a landslide victory in partial parliamentary elections organized the day before in the constituency of Chester, in the North West of England: 61.2% of the votes cast , against 22.4% for the local Tory candidate. The lowest score of the party in this rather rural and conservative locality since… 1832.
Many were quick to see it as a harbinger of a Labor victory in the next general election, due by the end of 2024. Commenting on the Chester results on BBC Radio 4, guru John Curtice polls in the United Kingdom, noted that it was “of the best performance of Labor [dans une élection partielle ou nationale] since David Cameron crossed the threshold of 10 Downing Street in 2010 (…). the Labor has never been in such a strong position in the twelve years the Conservatives have been in power. »
The tide seems to have turned resolutely in favor of the left and the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, despite his seriousness and his pragmatism, is struggling to maintain hope in the Tory ranks. The latter are confused by months of chaos, with the resignation of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson this summer, pushed out by scandals, then in the fall, by the catastrophic mandate of Liz Truss, whose Radical ultraliberalism caused a financial storm and destroyed the party’s reputation for competence.
One after the other, elected officials, on whom the right relied to renew itself, announce that they will not stand for re-election. Friday was the turn of Sajid Javid, a close friend of Mr. Sunak, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, then Minister of Health for Boris Johnson. “This government has come to the end of its road, it has no more ideas, it has no mandate, it’s time to change”, claimed Keir Starmer, the leader of Labour, renewing his call for an early general election.
Only Rishi Sunak can submit to King Charles III a dissolution of Parliament and trigger an early ballot. In view of the polls, which give the Tories an average of 20 points behind Labor at the national level, he has no interest in rushing. The immediate danger for Mr. Sunak comes mainly from his own ranks: in office for barely more than a month, he is already suffering rebellion after rebellion.
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