If there is a key takeaway from this year’s local elections, it’s that it has been a punishing night for the Tories, with more than 1,000 council seat losses.
In his first electoral test as prime minister, Rishi Sunak saw the Conservatives lose control of 50 councils – a result party chairman Greg Hands said was a “massive wake-up call”.
Many of the losses happened in places where they have traditionally enjoyed strong support, including the southern heartlands, which are home to some of the party’s heavyweights.
While losses at a local level do not necessarily spell defeat for the respective Tory MP in parliament – given that people do vote differently in national elections – they will nonetheless cause some jitters.
So, which Tories may be worried?
Leveling up secretary, former leadership contender and Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove saw the council in his constituency go to the Lib Dems for the first time, with the party picking up 14 seats.
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Surrey Heath Tory councilors lost 12 seats, and the Greens lost two.
The Lib Dems liked the result to the “Michael Portillo moment” of the local elections – a reference to the shock defeat suffered by the former Conservative cabinet minister in Enfield to Labor candidate Stephen Twigg back in 1997.
It has been used ever since to refer to the unpredictable nature of politics that can see even the most experienced hand face the sack.
“This is the Michael Portillo moment of these local elections,” the party said. “Senior Conservative cabinet ministers are now looking nervously over their shoulders at the Lib Dems.”
energy secretary Grant Shapps might be another one who might be looking over his shoulder.
His local council in Welwyn HatfieldHertfordshire, fell from Conservative control to no overall control, a dominant theme of these local elections for the Conservatives.
Labor here gained two councilors and the Lib Dems picked up one, while the Tories lost three seats on the council – tipping it into no over control for the second time in 20 years.
Other cabinet ministers who saw losses in their areas include prime minister’s deputy Oliver Dowden, whose council in Hertsmere moved from Tory control to no overall control, and immigration minister Robert Jenrick, who saw the same result in his local council of Newark and Sherwood.
In East Suffolk, Environment Secretary Therese Coffey’s local council changed hands from Tory to no overall control – as was the case in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, the local council of her ally and former PM Liz Truss.
The Lib Dems have seized control of Stratford-on-Avon, winning 15 seats while the Tories lost 15 – meaning for the first time in the council’s history a party other than the Conservatives is in majority control.
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The local MP for the area is Nadhim Zahawi, who was sacked as Tory party chairman in January after an ethics inquiry into the handling of his tax affairs found a “serious breach” of the ministerial code.
In Bromsgrove – the constituency of former chancellor Sajid Javid – the Tories lost six seats while Labor and the Lib Dems picked up three and two seats respectively.
The council now sits in no overall control. Since it was formed in 1974, it has only experienced one period under Labor control, from 1995 to 1999.
Mr Javid, who is one of a number of Tory MPs who will not stand at the next election, said he was “disappointed” by the result.
Boris Johnson allies Amanda Milling and Nadine Dorries also saw councils in their constitutions suffer bruising nights.
In Central Bedfordshire, the home of Ms Dorries, the former culture secretary, the Tories lost a whopping 23 seats to lose control, while Ms Milling’s council of Cannock Chase also suffered the same fate.