Brent Conservative leader says the controversy over Keir Starmer cheeky beer during lockdown was too late to save Tories from the troubles of Partygate.
Suresh Kansagra’s Conservatives won five seats in Brent Council, compared to Labour’s dominating 49 seats.
Brent is hardly a Tory stronghold but across the capital it made for grim reading for Boris Johnson, as Labour took control of nearby Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster, a borough it has never won before.
Kansagra said: “The Beergate saga should have come out a little bit earlier to help the councillors but it was too late in the day to save seats.”
The Conservative leader, who garnered 2165 votes in Brent to win a seat in the Tory ward of Kenton, also admitted that Johnson lied about partygate.
He said: “They say that he lied to the parliament, he lied to the people, he misled the parliament.
“Yes, he did that.”
But Kansagra, whose party also won four other seats in Brent Council, compared Johnson’s ‘lies’ to former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“When I look back at when Tony Blair lied to the parliament, he lied to the people, and millions were killed, and millions are still suffering in Iran, Iraq and Libya,” he added.
“So you’ve got to weigh up and see in the context of things that there are lies and there are lies.”
The two other seats in Kenton also went to Conservative councillors Sunita Hirani and Michael Maurice, with Conservatives Kanta Mistry and Jayanti Patel also winning in Queensbury ward, an increase of two seats from the 2018 elections.
The Liberal Democrats also won three seats in the election, with their l leader Anton Georgiou being re-elected to his seat in Alperton ward, alongside Hannah Matin, after a tense recount.
Fellow Lib Dem Paul Lorber was also elected to Sudbury earlier on in the night after eight years out of the council.
He said: “Nationally, the Lib Dems are on the up, we are gaining council seats up and down the country.
“I think it speaks to the disillusionment that people have with both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party at the moment and obviously people are turning to the Liberal Democrats.”
But Brent was still a sea of red rosettes, with Labour councillors winning 86% of the vote share.
Brent Labour Leader Muhammed Butt said the wins in Brent and across London signified a mood change.
He said: “It’s a signal from the people saying they want something different from the politics we have now.”
Brent experienced a low voter turnout, with only 20-30% of the electorate voting in each ward, lower than the 2018 London average of 39%.
Butt added: “That low turnout, it’s not just been in Brent, it’s been all over London and that sort of signifies something to do with what’s been happening with the government.
“It has been quite challenging and I think the situation around the country, the cost of living crisis and everything else had an impact on how people chose to come back to vote.”