UK's Johnson: election night was a tough one for some Conservatives
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said local election results had made it a tough night for the ruling Conservative Party in some parts of the country.
"We've had a tough night in some parts of the country, but on the other hand, in other parts of the country, you're still seeing Conservatives going forward and making quite remarkable gains," he told reporters on Friday.
As early results suggested Johnson, a former London mayor, was losing support in southeastern England, his supporters moved in quickly on Friday to say it was not time to oust a leader they said could still "get things done" to help the economy.
Johnson's party was ousted in Wandsworth, a low-tax Conservative stronghold since 1978, part of a trend in the British capital where voters used the elections to express anger over a cost-of-living crisis and fines imposed on the prime minister for breaking his own Covid-19 lockdown rules.
For the first time, the opposition Labour Party won the council of Westminster, a district where most government institutions are located. The Conservatives also lost control of the borough of Barnet, which has been held by the party in all but two elections since 1964.
The overall tally due later on Friday will offer the most important snapshot of public opinion since Johnson won the Conservative Party's biggest majority in more than 30 years in the 2019 national vote.
The ballot is an electoral test for Johnson since he became the first British leader in living memory to have broken the law while in office. He was fined last month for attending a birthday gathering in his office in 2020, breaking social distancing rules then in place to curb Covid-19's spread.
The loss of key councils in London, where the Conservatives were almost wiped out, will increase pressure on Johnson, who has been fighting for his political survival for months and faces the possibility of more police fines over his attendance at other lockdown-breaking gatherings.
But with indications support for his party has held up in areas of central and northern England that backed leaving the European Union in 2016, some Conservatives said Johnson's critics were unlikely to have the numbers to trigger a coup, for now.