England’s vote in local elections is seen as a test for the Conservatives

Keir Starmer, leader of the British Labor Party, speaks during a meeting with voters to ask them to vote after campaigning for the local elections, on March 30, 2023 in Swindon, west London.

Voters in England will vote on Thursday in a local election seen as a test for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s conservatives, a year and a half before a legislative session threatens to hand them a setback.

Polling stations opened at 07:00 (06:00 GMT) and will close at 22:00 (21:00 GMT), electing more than 8,000 councilors in some 230 boroughs across England, one of the four countries that make up the kingdom. United.

For the first time in history, voters must show a photocopied document. And in a country where there is no official ID, the change, which has been promised by conservatives since 2019, has been criticized for risking excluding those, like many young people, who do not have a passport or driver’s licence.

The government confirms that it wants to avoid electoral fraud in line with other European countries, but the Labor opposition says that this is very little in the country and confirms that the conservatives are seeking to subtract votes with this measure.

– Business feature –

These local elections, which do not include the London assembly, are the first since Sunak took power in October after Boris Johnson’s scandalous succession and a chaotic 49 days under Liz Truss as head of government.

The election will allow him to gauge the heat of public opinion a year and a half after a general election in which the opposition Labor party already showed a significant advantage in opinion polls.

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Political scientist John Curtis of the University of Strathclyde told the BBC that before he came to power in 1997 and 2010 respectively, both Tony Blair’s Labor and David Cameron’s Conservative party had won previous local elections by landslides.

Sunak acknowledged that his party was facing a “severe” test and that voters might punish them for the mistakes of the Johnson and Truss executives.

The conservative Daily Telegraph quoted him as warning during Wednesday night’s event that “good councilors will lose their seats because of everything that happened in the last year”. “I have only been prime minister for six months, but I think we are making good progress,” he added.

– ‘Chaos’, ‘catastrophe’, ‘crisis’ –

In an article published in the left-wing Daily Mirror newspaper on Thursday, Labor leader Keir Starmer outlined a balance sheet of poor public services, rising crime and record hospital waiting lists under 13 years of Tory rule.

He said, “Your vote matters.” “If you think it’s time to build a better Britain, get your ID card, go to the polling station and vote for Labor today,” he added.

Polls show that voters are mainly worried about inflation, which hasn’t fallen below 10% in months, and the public health crisis, which has been hit by repeated strikes, including an unprecedented strike by nurses.

The most unfavorable poll predicts a drop of 1,000 members of the Board of Governors, who believe that losing less would equate to victory.

The first results are expected on Friday, the eve of Carlos III’s coronation, but it will take days for the full results to come out.

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However, ahead of the election, the More Subscribers think-tank gathered voters from an opinion group to gauge the mood of Britons.

When asked to describe the state of the country in one word, the participants answered things like “broken,” “chaos,” “disaster,” “difficulties,” and “crisis.”

jit-acc/avl

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