The UK's Conservative Party has lost control in London's Wandsworth and Barnet, two Conservative centres, as PM Boris Johnson faces public opinion in early election results.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party has lost control of traditional strongholds in London and suffered losses elsewhere in local elections as opposition parties capitalised on the government's recent problems.
Early results on Friday showed that Johnson's party was ousted in Wandsworth - a low-tax Conservative stronghold since 1978, which had been one of main opposition Labour Party's main targets.
The Conservatives also said they had lost control of the borough of Barnet, which has been held by the party in all but two elections since 1964.
"This is a warning shot from Conservative voters," said Daniel Thomas, the Conservative leader of Barnet council.
The overall tally due later on Friday will offer the most important snapshot of public opinion since Johnson won the Conservative Party's biggest majority in more than 30 years in the 2019 general election.
The ballot is the first electoral test for Johnson since he became the first British leader in living memory to have broken the law while in office. He was fined last month for attending a birthday gathering in his office in 2020, breaking social distancing rules then in place to curb Covid's spread.
Early results showed the Conservative Party had lost 92 council seats. The main opposition Labour Party had gained 23 seat and the Liberal Democrats 42 seats.
The results will decide almost 7,000 council seats, including all those in London, Scotland and Wales, and a third of the seats in most of the rest of England.
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'Take a long hard look in the mirror'
The outcome outside the capital is likely to be less clear-cut. The Conservatives lost overall control of councils in Southampton, Worcester and West Oxfordshire.
But the party have not done as badly as some polls had predicted. One poll in the run up to the elections said the Conservatives could lose about 800 council seats.
John Curtice, a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, said early trends suggested the Conservatives were on course to lose about 250 seats.
However, some local Conservative council leaders called on Johnson to resign after the party's poor performance, which they blamed on him being fined over his attendance at other lockdown-breaking gatherings and the cost-of-living crisis.
John Mallinson, Conservative leader of Carlisle city council, told the BBC that he had "lost some very good colleagues" and had found it "difficult to drag the debate back to local issues".
Simon Bosher, the most senior Conservative in Portsmouth, said the party's leadership in Westminster needed to "take a good, long hard look in the mirror" to find out why they had lost seats.
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