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HomePoliticsPolls close; Labour eyes double defeat for Sunak

Polls close; Labour eyes double defeat for Sunak

  • Labour targets “Rishi’s recession”
  • By-election counts underway
  • Tories face tough contests

Counting has commenced in two by-elections for seats that the Conservatives have traditionally held securely.

As the by-elections for Kingswood and Wellingborough are currently being counted, Labour aims to defeat Rishi Sunak twice. This effort aims to capitalise on the United Kingdom’s impending recession.

In South Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire, the Conservatives have traditionally held secure seats. They are now defending after the departures of Chris Skidmore and Peter Bone, respectively.

Nevertheless, the polls for both seats were conducted on the day the United Kingdom officially entered a recession, calling Mr Sunak’s pledge to stimulate economic growth into question and providing Labour with the “Rishi’s recession” attack line.

However, the Labour Party is also beset by difficulties as a result of the controversy surrounding its candidate in the Rochdale by-election, which occurs at the end of the month.

Privately, Conservatives have acknowledged that their party is preparing for defeats in both by-elections. This is due to the circumstances surrounding the departures of both Mr Bone and Mr Skidmore from parliament.

The seat of Wellingborough, which is currently held by the Conservatives with an 18,540 majority, was vacated following the discovery by parliament that Mr Bone had engaged in sexual misconduct and abuse towards a staff member; he has denied these allegations.

Challenges Ahead for Conservative By-Elections

Mr Skidmore resigned from his Conservative-held seat in Kingswood, which has an 11,220-vote majority, in opposition to what he perceived to be the government’s reversal of green policies, specifically its intentions to issue new licences for North Sea oil and gas exploration.

The Kingswood seat will be eliminated from the upcoming election as a result of the boundary review.

Conservatives reportedly consider both by-elections to be “the worst possible circumstances” that cannot be compared to a general election. They expect the party’s losses in Tamworth and Selby to be less than last year’s 20% swing towards Labour.

The absence of prominent cabinet ministers, including Mr Sunak, in either Wellingborough or Kingswood provides insight into the Tories’ resource allocation strategy leading up to the mayoral elections in May and the general election anticipated in autumn.

Additionally, the Tories are anticipating an outstanding showing from their adversary, the Reform Party, which is aiming for its highest-ever result at Wellingborough.

According to sources within the Reform Party, the organisation’s target polling average is approximately 10%.

In contrast, Labour has endeavoured to temper expectations in light of the period it has not held both seats.

The “Rishi recession”

Two consecutive three-month periods in which the economy contracts rather than expands constitute a recession.

GDP is a key indication of economic growth, according to ONS data. It experienced a decline of 0.3% from October to December.

Even though experts predicted an uptick, inflation stayed at 4% yesterday, the chancellor said.

Jeremy Hunt said “the greatest obstacle to growth” is excessive inflation, adding, “A loss of growth is not unexpected.

To build a stronger economy, the United Kingdom must stick to the plan” of reducing taxes on work and business, he insisted. There were “indications the British economy is turning a corner.”

Reeves Criticizes Economic Management

However, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves stated that it is “absolutely clear” that the United Kingdom remains mired in a spiral of economic decline, despite the fact that the GDP figures are “provisional and subject to change.

Ms. Reeves said the prime minister “broken” his promise to boost economic growth and reversed the economy.

She stated that this is Rishi’s recession and that the British people will bear the cost.

Although Labour maintains a 19% lead in the surveys, the party has encountered its own difficulties since deciding to withdraw support for a candidate in the Rochdale by-election on 29 February due to allegations of antisemitic remarks.

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer maintained that he had taken “decisive action” regarding Mr Ali. However, the Tories criticised the party’s decision to withdraw support for him in Rochdale only after additional remarks surfaced.

Then, Labour was shocked by the revelation that former Member of Parliament and fellow candidate Graham Jones allegedly used the term “f***ing Israel” in the same meeting where Mr Ali made his initial remarks; Jones was subsequently suspended.

The voting process for the by-elections on Thursday commenced at 7am, and polling stations closed at 10pm.

Starmer defends Labour’s £28bn green spending U-turn

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