The Prime Minster has described it as a ‘mixed set of results’ after Westminster, a Conservative stronghold since its creation in 1964, and Wandsworth, widely believed to be Margaret Thatcher’s favourite council – and run by the Tories since 1978 – both fell to Labour.
When asked by broadcasters in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency if he would stand by his pledge to take full responsibility for the results, Johnson replied: “Of course.”
“It is mid-term,” he added. “It’s certainly a mixed set of results.
“We had a tough night in some parts of the country but on the other hand in other parts of the country you are still seeing Conservatives going forward and making quite remarkable gains in places that haven’t voted Conservative for a long time, if ever.”
In addition to these relative surprises, Labour also took their top London target in Barnet, the same borough they narrowly failed to win in 2014.
Elsewhere, the Conservatives lost ground to the Liberal Democrats in major “blue wall” seats across southern England, making inroads in West Oxfordshire and Stockport.
The PM added that his ministers must respond to the “message” sent by voters in local council elections to concentrate on the issues that matter to them.
Among these issues, Johnson claimed, are recovering from the social and economic impact of Covid, resolving the current energy crisis and persisting with the Conservative agenda of ‘high wage, high skill jobs.’
Asked about the elections in Northern Ireland, Johnson added: “the most important thing is that we continue to support the balance of the Good Friday Agreement across all communities in Northern Ireland.”
“That’s what we’re going to do. And whatever arrangements we have, they have got to have cross-community support, that’s what the Good Friday Agreement is all about, that’s what the government is going to do.”
“But as for the rest… we’ll have to wait and see what the results are in Northern Ireland.”
Almost 150 councils held votes across England on Thursday, including 32 London boroughs.
Council seats were also contested in Scotland, Wales and the Northern Ireland assembly, where nationalists Sinn Féin could become the largest party for the first time in Northern Irish history.
All results in England, Scotland and Wales are expected to be known by Friday evening, although those in Northern Ireland are likely to carry through to Saturday.