Local elections 2024 – live: Polls close for mayoral and council contests in England as Tory losses predicted

Rishi Sunak is braced for heavy losses in the local elections as rebel Tories plot to oust him if key mayoral contests are lost.

As voting finished on Thursday night, a bombshell new poll found the Tories are now even less popular under Mr Sunak than during the calamitous premiership of Liz Truss.

According to the survey, taken on 30 April and 1 May, the Conservatives are down to just 18 per cent – 26 points behind Labour on 44 per cent and a mere three points ahead of Reform UK on 15 per cent.

The results heightened the nerves of Conservative MPs as two days of counting began.

One Tory MP told The Independent that a move against Mr Sunak is “likely” if either West Midlands mayor Andy Street or Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen lose their jobs.

There was also a by-election taking place in Blackpool South following the resignation of former Conservative MP Scott Benton.

Labour was expected to win the Lancashire seat, with Reform UK expected to make gains and potentially finish about the Tories in second place.

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