Labour make progress in Johnson’s home territory

Boris Johnson’s home council stayed blue but the Conservatives still saw their majority trimmed in Hillingdon.

The Tories were expected to comfortably maintain control of the council, the home of the prime minister’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.

But they lost four seats on their performance four years ago.

As the Conservatives realised their majority was in sight, cackles could be heard across the hall but Labour cheered right back, snatching three seats from the opposition.

And voters elected three Labour councillors in Johnson’s own constituency – Naser Abby and Sital Punja, were voted in in Yiewsley, while Tony Burles was elected in Uxbridge.

In the wake of ‘Partygate’ and the cost of living crisis, these elections proved crucial for both the Conservatives and their leader and though the Tories won, the consequences of the government’s actions are clear.

“I canvassed in Uxbridge, there were two things coming up on the door steps. Firstly, Boris Johnson’s behaviour, a lot of people are disillusioned with him,” said former Labour shadow chancellor John McDonell, the MP for Hayes and Harlington.

“The second is the cost of living and the government not doing enough to help people.”

This could explain Labour gains across the capital, especially in seats such as Wandsworth that turned red for the first time since 1978 while north-west London neighbour Barnet was another Labour gain.

In Hillingdon, Labour as a whole saw gains across the borough, growing from 19 seats in 2018 to 23.
However, it’s important to note that it’s wholly unsurprising that Labour didn’t make any significant strides – the borough has been in Conservative control for the last 16 years.

Ian Edwards, leader of the Conservative Council, emphasised the humility of retaining the control, but also said the next four years were about more than just delivering their policies.

He said: “We now have another four years to deliver on the same programmes we’ve delivered in the last 16 years, but also to regain and rebuild the trust with those residents that couldn’t back us on this occasion.”

It’s clear that the Conservatives are not taking this win for granted but McDonnell also wants Labour activists to use their improving local fortunes as a springboard.

“We’re in that phase of politics now where the damage to the tories opens up an opportunity to come forward with an inspirational policy programme and that’s what we’ll be working on in the Labour Party,” he added.

Full results for Hillingdon can be found here

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