Labour takes control of Westminster City Council
Jacob Phillips, LDRS
- Credit: PA
The Conservatives have lost Westminster City Council for the first time in its 58-year history.
The local election result is a further blow to the Tories, who have also lost control of Barnet and Wandsworth councils to Labour early this morning (Friday).
Labour had promised to build more homes and freeze council tax in Westminster. Voters appear to have been ultimately swayed by the Partygate scandal inside Number 10, the cost of living crisis and, locally, the £6 million Marble Arch Mound fiasco.
Across the borough, a total of 162 candidates battled it out for 54 seats across 18 wards over issues such as antisocial behaviour, the future of Oxford Street and protecting the borough’s schools.
Voters were also considering how each party would deal with bad landlords and rogue letting agents. Both main political parties had also promoted policies to make Central London safer at night – particularly for women.
Westminster City Council had been held by the Tories since it was first formed in 1964 and the council currently has the lowest council tax in the country at just £866 per year.
According to Labour, Westminster residents were furious on doorsteps about the Marble Arch Mound tourist attraction which ended up costing three times its budget and other voters felt they could not trust the Tories after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fined for breaking Covid rules at the height of the pandemic.
Other issues voters considered as they headed to the polls including the amount of rubbish and noise generated by partygoers. Previously the Conservatives had over twice as many councillors (41) as Labour (19).
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This time around, the number of wards in the borough has decreased from 20 to 18, and the total number of councillors decreased from 60 to 54.
Westminster City Council’s new leader, Adam Hug, said: “I’m very, very, dead-very elated. We have made history here in Westminster. We had an amazing team of councillors and we have gone out and listened to people across Westminster… the council has ignored their concerns.”
Councillor Hug said he believes Labour won Westminster due to a “mix of local and national issues” and people have felt “taken for granted” by the Tories.
He added: “People were telling us: ‘I can’t vote for Boris Johnson any more.'"