Local elections: Nightmare day in the Black Country 'shows Labour's need to change'

Labour has been left licking its wounds in the Black Country after the Tories made massive gains across local councils.

Labour Wolverhampton MP Pat McFadden, right, said Sir Keir Starmer should be given the chance to change the party
Labour Wolverhampton MP Pat McFadden, right, said Sir Keir Starmer should be given the chance to change the party

Overall Boris Johnson’s party gained 31 seats across four councils in a set of results that served as a devastating blow to Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership of the Labour Party.

In Dudley the Conservatives won 23 of the 26 seats up for grabs, including 12 gains. They won nine seats in Sandwell, made five gains in Wolverhampton and now dominate Walsall Council after five gains.

Meanwhile over in Staffordshire the Conservatives won double the votes of Labour in the police, fire and crime commissioner poll, with the county's council results being announced on Saturday.

Shadow frontbencher Pat McFadden, the MP for Wolverhampton South East, said the results underlined the need for Labour to change, and that he believed Sir Keir should be given a chance to turn things around.

In-depth reports from each count

“On a difficult night for Labour I was very pleased with the results for Wolverhampton South East where we held all seven wards,” he said.

“More broadly, I think these results underline the need for change in the Labour Party.

"It’s something I have been talking about for some years and it is really important that Labour faces up to the level of change needed for it to be taken seriously as a national political force again.

"I believe Sir Keir should be given the chance to do that, but I’m sure he is in no doubt about the level of change needed. Last night’s results across the country as a whole underline that.”

Father and Son James and Rob Clinton were both elected in Dudley

In a nightmare set of elections for Sir Keir his party lost control of a number of councils, and was soundly beaten in the Hartlepool by-election. He also endured a car crash television interview in which he insisted he was the right man to turn Labour’s fortunes around.

In Sandwell there had not been a Tory councillor since 2015, but now there are nine after the party landed seats in Charlemont with Grove Vale, Friar Park and Great Bridge among other wards.

Full results from across the Black Country

Speaking at the count at Sandwell Valley Country Park, Nicola Richards, the Conservative MP for West Bromwich East, said the results showed people felt “let down” by the Labour-run authority.

“On the doorsteps it’s been clear that people want the council to focus on the basics, and not fighting with each other,” she said.

“It’s not only time for a culture change at Sandwell Council, but it’s time for an official opposition who will hopefully be able to provide clarity on what happens behinds closed doors.

“I very much look forward to working with our fantastic new councillors to improve our communities for the benefit of local residents themselves.”

Ian Brookfield remains the Labour leader of Wolverhampton Council with a comfortable majority

In Wolverhampton the Conservatives won seats from Labour in Oxley, Merry Hill, Penn, Bushbury North and Wednesfield South, bolstering the blue ranks in the council chamber to 15 to Labour’s 44.

Councillor Wendy Thompson, leader of the city’s Conservatives, said the “fight back” was now on.

The balance of power in Walsall had been on a knife edge but the Tories are now in complete control, with 37 seats to Labour’s 22.

Both Lib Dem councillors lost their seats, including Ian Shires, who has been on the council for 42 years. Jubilant council leader Mike Bird said: “I’m pleased the effort put in has paid off.”

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