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MPs are facing increasing pressure to clean up Westminster politics amid a wave of sordid claims about booze-fuelled behavior that has left Parliament’s reputation in the gutter.

An extra-ordinary rap sheet of sexist and misogynistic behaviour has been revealed in the wake of Neil Parish’s resignation for watching pornography while sat in the Commons.

Among then are a minister accused of having ‘noisy sex’ in his parliamentary office, a Tory MP who sent a ‘d*ck pic’ to a female colleague and another who has been given repeated warnings for his used of prostitutes.

Another MP is also said to have drunkenly licked men’s faces which cavorting in one of Parliament’s many bars.

The Sunday Times alleged today one MP got so drunk on champagne at a posh parliamentary bash they had to be escorted out, while in a separate incident a female reasearcher got so drunk she vomited in a Commons’ bar and was later found passed out. 

The new claims come after previous allegations of boorish and misogynistic behavour by male politicians, including likening female MPs to sex workers because of the way they are dressed. 

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle today called for ‘radical’ reform to working practices, including ending the direct employment of aides by MPs, to make it easier for them to make complaints without fear of losing their jobs.

His bid for change was echoed by Andrea Leadsom, the former leader of the Commons, who in 2018 spearheaded the creation of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), which looks into claims of bullying and sexual harassment.

She told The Sunday Times: ‘Things haven’t changed and that’s because there aren’t enough cases coming through and it’s taking too long for investigations to come to an end.

‘It’s only when you see people getting done for being blind drunk and subject to the appropriate sanctions that people will start to think twice about their behaviour.’

Meanwhile, Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden reiterated a commitment from Boris Johnson to ensure half of Conservative candidates for the Commons are women.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Dowden said the Tories need to ensure their candidate list ‘reflects the fact that half the population are women’.

Around a quarter of Conservative candidates at the 2019 election were women, but Labour managed to ensure women represented more than half of its candidates.

Earlier this week, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries suggested ensuring ‘a majority of women’ in Parliament could help tackle Westminster sleaze.

Mr Parish announced last night that he would quit his Tiverton and Honiton seat after admitting he watched porn on his phone while sat on the Commons’ green benches.

The 65-year-old environment and rural affairs committee chairman, who is a farmer by trade, said he first accidentally viewed the x-rated video after looking at tractors online.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today denied there was a ‘culture of misogyny’  in Parliament. He told Sky News: ‘Generally, most MPs have a sense of responsibility … in some instances people do act irresponsibly.’

And he said shutting Parliament’s bars to tackle sexual misconduct and sleaze would be ‘excessively puritanical’.

Mr Kwarteng also did not back all-women shortlists for parliamentary candidates, telling Sky News: ‘I’ve never been a fan of quotas but I think we should do all we can to encourage more women to come into politics and from diverse backgrounds.’

An extra-ordinary rap sheet of sexist and misogynistic behaviour has been revealed in the wake of Neil Parish's resignation for watching pornography while sat in the Commons.

An extra-ordinary rap sheet of sexist and misogynistic behaviour has been revealed in the wake of Neil Parish's resignation for watching pornography while sat in the Commons.

An extra-ordinary rap sheet of sexist and misogynistic behaviour has been revealed in the wake of Neil Parish’s resignation for watching pornography while sat in the Commons.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle today called for 'radical' reform to working practices, including ending the direct employment of aides by MPs, to make it easier for them to make complaints without fear of losing their jobs.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle today called for 'radical' reform to working practices, including ending the direct employment of aides by MPs, to make it easier for them to make complaints without fear of losing their jobs.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle today called for ‘radical’ reform to working practices, including ending the direct employment of aides by MPs, to make it easier for them to make complaints without fear of losing their jobs.

His bid for change was echoed by Andrea Leadsom, the former leader of the Commons, who told The Sunday Times: 'Things haven't changed and that's because there aren't enough cases coming through and it's taking too long for investigations to come to an end.'

His bid for change was echoed by Andrea Leadsom, the former leader of the Commons, who told The Sunday Times: 'Things haven't changed and that's because there aren't enough cases coming through and it's taking too long for investigations to come to an end.'

His bid for change was echoed by Andrea Leadsom, the former leader of the Commons, who told The Sunday Times: ‘Things haven’t changed and that’s because there aren’t enough cases coming through and it’s taking too long for investigations to come to an end.’

Who is Neil Parish? Somerset farmer turned politician who left school at 16 and became a ‘Rottweiler’ on rural issues

Neil Parish is a former Somerset farmer who has spend more than two decades as a politician in Westminster and Brussels.

Born in Bridgewater, a historic market town on the edge of the Somerset Levels, he became MP for Tiverton and Honiton, a picturesque constituency in the heart of south-west England, in 2010 after a decade as a Tory MEP. Before that he served as a local councillor.

The 65-year-old has been a member of the Environment and rural affairs committee since 2010 and was once branded a ‘Rottweiler’ by former farming minister David Miliband. 

Mr Parish left school at 16 without qualifications and began working on the family farm, where he still lives. He is married to Susan, a teacher, and they have two children and two grandchildren

A biography on Politico described him as a ‘devoted family man’, with him and his wife considered something of a ‘double act’.

It continued: ‘Shorter than average and slightly rotund, Parish makes up in personality what he lacks in height. He is a whirlwind of activity, giving the impression he never stays still for very long. 

‘One of his political opposites in the Parliament describes Parish as ”personable” – it is difficult to find anyone who dislikes him – but says he suspects him of being ”shallow”, accusing him of a tendency to jump on other people’s bandwagons for the sake of publicity. The same person adds with a sigh: ”He’s a pretty nice guy actually”.’

Mr Parish is known to indulge in stunts, and while an MEP drove a hybrid car from Brussels to 

Alongside rural issues, he is also interested in animal welfare, and launched a select committee inquiry into the treatment of domestic pets, including cats, dogs and horses. 

Mr Parish’s other interests include African politics, according to an online biography. During the 2000 Presidential elections in Zimbabwe, he acted as an election monitor and criticised the conduct of Robert Mugabe’s regime. 

Following this, Robert Mugabe banned Neil from re-entering the country, a ban that remains in place to this day. He was recently among more than 280 MPs to be sanctioned by Vladimir Putin’s regime for comments he had made in Parliament in support of Ukraine. He described this as a ‘badge of honour’. 

His most recent work in Parliament was launching an inquiry into marine mammals, which will look into their welfare in UK waters and worldwide.

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Mr Parish last night revealed he and his wife have received death threats, saying: ‘You know what happened to (murdered MP) David Amess… he was a great friend of mine. 

‘I might have done things or I might not have done things but I am not here to be killed and I am not here to have my family threatened.’

Mr Parish struggled to hold back tears as told how in a ‘moment of madness’ he then deliberately watched the x-rated video a second time while he was sitting waiting to vote on the side of the Commons chamber.

The married father-of-two had previously vowed to continue as the MP for Tiverton and Honiton after it was revealed he was the politician seen watching porn by two Conservative colleagues, but finally bowed to pressure to resign this afternoon.

He said in an interview with BBC South West that he recognised the ‘furore’ and ‘damage’ he was causing his family and his constituency in Devon before deciding ‘it just wasn’t worth carrying on’.

‘The situation was, funnily enough it was tractors I was looking at, so I did get into another website with sort of a very similar name and I watched it for a bit, which I shouldn’t have done,’ Mr Parish said.

‘My crime, my most biggest crime, is that on another occasion I went in a second time, and that was deliberate.

‘I was wrong what I was doing, but this idea that I was there watching it, intimidating women, I mean I have 12 years in Parliament and probably got one of the best reputations ever – or did have.’

When pressed on why he chose to view the material in the Commons, he said: ‘I don’t know, I think I must’ve taken complete leave of my senses and my sensibilities and my sense of decency, everything.’  

‘I thought that I could explain to the standards committee what happened and it would be worth explaining what happened which I will in a minute.’

He added: ‘What I do want to put on record is that for all my rights and wrongs, I was not proud of what I was doing. The one thing I wasn’t doing and which I will take to my grave as being true is I was not actually making sure people could see it.

‘In fact, I was trying to do quite the opposite. I was wrong what I was doing, but this idea that I was there watching it and intimidating women.’

He continued: ‘Total madness. I’m not going to defend it. I’m also not going to defend what I did. What I did was absolutely, totally wrong. In the end, what do you do?’

He told the BBC that he and his wife discussed fighting it in some way yesterday morning.

‘I was wrong. I searched my conscience and that’s why I’m here this afternoon. I’m not trying to be virtuous about it in any shape or form. I was wrong. I was stupid. I lost a sense of mind.

‘What is done is done. What I am saying is one can use process to delay and hold things up. I decided not to.’

He was suspended by the Conservatives on Friday under investigation after confirming that he was the MP who had been seen watching the material.

His resignation will trigger a by-election in the South West seat of Tiverton and Honiton in Devon which has a Conservative majority of over 14,000.

The resignation follows Parish’s wife, Sue Parish, promising to stand by her husband in an interview with the Times today.

Mrs Parish, said the incident was ‘very embarrassing’ but added that ‘if you were mad with every man who looked at pornography, you would not have many wives in the world.’

His wife of more than 40 years said their marriage would survive the scandal, claiming it is ‘all very embarrassing’.

After hearing about the allegation, Mrs Parish said: ‘My breath was taken away, frankly,’ although she defended her husband. ‘No. He’s quite a normal guy, really. He’s a lovely person. It’s just so stupid.’

Parish with his wife of 40 years Susan, who described the allegations against him as 'very embarrassing' in The Times. Parish said he and his wife have received death threats

Parish with his wife of 40 years Susan, who described the allegations against him as 'very embarrassing' in The Times. Parish said he and his wife have received death threats

Parish with his wife of 40 years Susan, who described the allegations against him as ‘very embarrassing’ in The Times. Parish said he and his wife have received death threats

In an interview with BBC South West, he said that the first time he viewed the material it was accidental and he was trying to look at tractors

In an interview with BBC South West, he said that the first time he viewed the material it was accidental and he was trying to look at tractors

In an interview with BBC South West, he said that the first time he viewed the material it was accidental and he was trying to look at tractors

Mr Parish gave a statement to press outside his home yesterday in which he explained that he had the Conservative whip suspended as the allegations are investigated

Mr Parish gave a statement to press outside his home yesterday in which he explained that he had the Conservative whip suspended as the allegations are investigated

Mr Parish gave a statement to press outside his home yesterday in which he explained that he had the Conservative whip suspended as the allegations are investigated

Susan Parish (left), his wife of more than 40 years said their marriage would survive the scandal, claiming it is 'all very embarrassing'

Susan Parish (left), his wife of more than 40 years said their marriage would survive the scandal, claiming it is 'all very embarrassing'

Susan Parish (left), his wife of more than 40 years said their marriage would survive the scandal, claiming it is ‘all very embarrassing’

Parish is the chair of the Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee

Parish is the chair of the Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee

Parish is the chair of the Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee

Tory MP Neil Parish is pictured arriving back to his home in Somerset following news that he is being investigated over claims that he watched porn in the House of Commons before his resignation

Tory MP Neil Parish is pictured arriving back to his home in Somerset following news that he is being investigated over claims that he watched porn in the House of Commons before his resignation

Tory MP Neil Parish is pictured arriving back to his home in Somerset following news that he is being investigated over claims that he watched porn in the House of Commons before his resignation

She said: ‘People shouldn’t be looking at pornography. He would never just sit there with people looking. He would never just do that knowing [people were looking]. These ladies were quite right to be as cross as they were because I was cross, too.’

Mr Parish admitted that as reports emerged yesterday naming him as the MP in question, he was unable to contact his wife because his phone battery was flat.

By the time he arrived home from a constituency surgery, Mrs Parish had already learned the news. Having reached their red-brick farmhouse in Stretcholt near Bridgwater, Somerset, Mr Parish broke down in tears and told her: ‘I’m sorry you married a f****** idiot.’

Labour welcomed Parish’s resignation after it was announced.

Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour’s Shadow Leader of the House of Commons said: ‘This is the right decision, the people of Tiverton and Honiton deserve better than Neil Parish’s disgusting behaviour.

‘But it’s shocking that the Conservatives have allowed this debacle to drag out over many days.

‘Time and again the Tories refuse to act, resorting to cover ups and dragging the reputation of other MPs and the House down with them.

‘From the Owen Paterson scandal, voting to keep Rob Roberts in parliament, and their failure to act against their paedophile MP Imran Ahmad Khan, this Conservative government is rotting from the head down.

‘Britain deserves better.’

Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner was more incredulous.

She tweeted: ‘He was looking for tractors but ended up with porn actors?

‘Neil Parish must think you were all born yesterday. Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are a national embarrassment.’

The sentiment was echoed by Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper who said: ‘It is appalling that Neil Parish had to be pushed to resign after those in charge of the Conservative Party spent days dragging their feet.

‘This still leaves unanswered questions about Boris Johnson’s leadership and his failure to trust the word of his female MPs.

‘The Conservative party must now swiftly call a by-election, so the people of Tiverton and Honiton can finally get the proper representation they deserve.

‘From health and crime failures to partygate and porn scandals, the Conservatives are taking voters for granted. This Thursday is a chance to send a clear message that Boris Johnson’s time is up.’

Nicola Sturgeon has said the resignation of Neil Parish should be a moment for society to say ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to misogyny.

The First Minister reacted to news of the MP’s resignation as she campaigned in Burntisland, Fife, on Saturday.

She told the PA news agency: ‘I don’t think there could really be any other outcome to what has come to light about this particular MP over the last few days.

‘Watching porn on a mobile phone in the House of Commons when you’re there representing constituents is just unacceptable.’

She said sexism and misogyny were a ‘societal problem’ which now needed to change.

The First Minister said: ‘So this is a moment I think to really say ‘enough is enough’. Not all men are misogynists, but all women do experience misogyny.

‘And misogyny is by and large about male behaviour. So men have to change, and I hope this is a moment where they really think about that carefully and seriously.’

The Tiverton and Honiton Conservative Association thanked Mr Parish for his ‘service to our communities’ since becoming MP in 2010, adding: ‘We support his decision to step down as our Member of Parliament.’

His resignation will me a new chair of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will be needed.

The 65-year-old had the party whip suspended yesterday afternoon after finally being identified as the man allegedly spotted browsing smut by Tory women, following days of fevered speculation. 

Several MPs had called for Parish to resign, including Labour grandee Harriet Harman. 

Ms Harman called on Mr Parish to stand down amid a ‘new low for the House of Commons’.

She told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: ‘If this is what he has done, he should stand down from Parliament right away. It is not right for him to go through the investigation processes if that is what he has done.

‘Clearly he is not fit to be in Parliament. He should accept that and not drag the processes out.’

Twitter users were quick to mock Parish’s tractor excuse with many posting memes to do so. 

Allegations of a porn-watching MP were first aired in a meeting with Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris on Tuesday.

Mr Parish did not come forward as the culprit, even when asked about the claims in a televised interview, until when the revelations were about to be made public on Friday. 

A local Conservative source said the pressure to resign was coming from Westminster, rather than the constituency association.

Senior Tory Karen Bradley had urged Mr Parish to stay away from Parliament but Parish insisted to reporters at his Somerset farmhouse on Friday that he would be carrying on while under investigation, suggesting that he had watched the porn accidentally.

However, it was hard to tally that explanation with suggestions that a Tory minister also witnessed him watching porn on a second occasion, in a committee meeting.

Mr Parish referred himself to the standards watchdog over allegations that he had been seen watching adult material in the House by two female colleagues.

Appearing on GB News earlier this week, Mr Parish himself said the claims had to be dealt with ‘seriously’ and backed Tory whips to conduct a ‘thorough investigation’.

He then added: ‘If you’ve got sort of 650 members of parliament in what is a very intense area, you are going to get people that step over the line… 

‘I don’t think there’s necessarily a huge culture (of misogyny) here but I think it does have to be dealt with and dealt with seriously. That’s what the whips will do.’

The revelation came as part of a flurry of reports of misconduct among politicians – with 56 MPs and three ministers reportedly being investigated by the Independent Complaints & Grievance Scheme (ICGS).

It is unclear whether the investigation into Parish will still go ahead after he resigns. But the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), which looks into claims of bullying and sexual harassment, can investigate former MPs.

Senior Tory MP Caroline Nokes has claimed that that the Conservative party is ‘institutionally sexist’ and believes there is a culture of ‘male entitlement’ among the group. 

The chair of the Women and Equalities Committee told The Times, after being briefed not to speak out over the porn watching allegation, that ‘misogynistic nicknames and smears’ could be used to belittle colleagues less ‘robust’ than her. 

‘There’s a sense of women in parliament being tolerated rather than valued,’ she said. 

‘There are women in the party who have amazing attributes which get ignored. It still very much feels like it’s run by an old boys club.’

Yesterday, a Cabinet minister yesterday revealed she was once ‘pinned up against the wall’ by a male MP.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the vast majority of her male colleagues are ‘delightful’ and ‘committed parliamentarians’.

But she said a few behaved badly when they had ‘too much drink’, insisting people should act ‘as if their daughter was in the room’. 

Ms Trevelyan spoke about one extraordinary incident when she was ‘pinned up against a wall’ by a man who is now no longer an MP.

This new ‘Pestminster’ scandal has rocked the Commons just days before voters will go to the polls for local elections for over 200 local authorities. 

The making of a resignation: The ‘Porn MP’ who quit with a tractor excuse

Suspicion was cast over innocent Tories and a stream of damaging headlines were printed in the four days between claims of a porn-watching MP being aired and Neil Parish’s resignation.

The senior backbencher’s initial silence, followed by insistence he would stay in the job after he was unmasked, have all helped prolong the torrid affair for the Conservatives.

Criticism has also been aired at the Tory whips for taking days to suspend him, and all this in the run-up to the local elections.

It was a meeting of female members of the Conservative 2022 group in Westminster on Tuesday night when the shocking allegation was shared.

Two women said they had witnessed a male colleague watching porn in the Commons chamber.

One of them, a minister, said she had also seen him viewing adult material in a committee meeting.

Reporters learned of the allegations the following morning, but not the name of the culprit, with the Conservatives keeping that quiet.

Tory Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris responded though by calling the behaviour ‘wholly unacceptable’ and launching an investigation.

Amid demands for firmer and faster action, the Chief Whip called for the case to be referred to Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).

The watchdog that investigates allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct went on to open an investigation after a referral from at least one of the witnesses.

Women in Parliament came forward to decry the ‘shameful’ culture at the heart of British democracy, with Attorney General Suella Braverman saying some men act like ‘animals’.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan described once being ‘pinned up against a wall’ by a former MP.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the porn-watching was ‘clearly totally unacceptable’, but urged people to await the ICGS investigation.

Among those being asked about the scandal was Mr Parish himself, during an interview with GB News.

He was non-committal on whether the MP in question, which unbeknownst to viewers was the man on their screen, should be thrown out of the parliamentary party.

Mr Parish instead insisted the whips would ‘do a thorough investigation’ before denying there was a large cultural problem in Westminster, contrary to what his colleagues said.

‘We’ve got some 650 Members of Parliament in what is a very intense area,’ he told the interviewer.

‘We are going to get people that step over the line. I don’t think there’s necessarily a huge culture here but I think it does have to be dealt with and dealt with seriously and that’s what the whips will do.’

Then on Friday, the Telegraph approached the Conservatives saying it was preparing to reveal that it was Mr Parish at the centre of the allegations.

Mr Heaton-Harris released a statement saying he was suspending the Tory whip from the 65-year-old MP for Tiverton and Honiton.

After the pair met, Mr Parish said he would refer himself to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone for investigation.

He released a statement vowing he ‘will continue to perform my duties’ as an MP while ‘co-operating fully with any investigation’, but faced demands to stand down immediately.

Journalists tracked Mr Parish down to his Somerset farmhouse, where his wife Sue Parish learned of the news from a reporter and both faced uncomfortable questions.

Mrs Parish said ‘it was all very embarrassing’ as she defended her husband: ‘He’s quite a normal guy, really. He’s a lovely person. It’s just so stupid.’

Rather than readily volunteering an explanation, Mr Parish gave a hint while under sustained questioning from reporters.

Asked if he had opened something in error in the Commons, he said: ‘I did, but let the inquiry look at that.’

Mr Parish reiterated he would only be resigning after the investigation is complete, in the event he is found guilty of breaching the rules.

He would even speak of his relief about the allegations surfacing, telling the Telegraph in an interview while wearing his dressing gown that ‘it’s almost as if a weight is lifted off me’.

But on Saturday that pressure was firmly back on.

A Conservative source told the PA news agency it was ‘likely’ that Mr Parish would now be resigning within hours, with a second local source suggesting allies in Westminster were urging him to quit. Party sources said that pressure was not coming from Conservative HQ.

A farmer by trade, Mr Parish made his announcement in an emotional but nevertheless bizarre interview with BBC South West, saying he recognised the ‘furore’ and ‘damage’ he was causing.

And he offered an explanation: ‘The situation was, funnily enough it was tractors I was looking at, so I did get into another website with sort of a very similar name and I watched it for a bit, which I shouldn’t have done.

‘My crime, my most biggest crime, is that on another occasion I went in a second time, and that was deliberate.

‘That was sitting waiting to vote on the side of the chamber.’

That was a ‘moment of madness’, he conceded.

His resignation will trigger a by-election in the Devonshire constituency that is historically safe for the Tories. The Liberal Democrats will relish the chance to snatch it though.

He will continue to face an investigation by the ICGS, and questions as to why he did not save the Tories’ blushes in the run-up to Thursday’s local elections by resigning days earlier.

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New poll shows the economy is the number one ‘doorstep’ issue in most of the UK with five days to go until local elections… but some Labour inner city heartlands are STILL obsessed with Covid and London can’t let Brexit go

By Chay Quinn for the MailOnline

The economy is the most important issues in a majority of constituencies in Great Britain ahead of Thursday’s local elections, according to new research.

A new tracker from Survation and Royal Holloway University of London shows that economic issues are the most important in 460 (73 per cent) of the 632 parliamentary constituencies in Great Britain.

The modelling will strike fear into Tories as several polls now show that they are less trusted on the economy than Sir Keir Starmer‘s Labour – in the wake of the controversial National Insurance hike and skyrocketing inflation

Pressure is growing on Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak over their party’s response to the cost-of-living crisis with the Cabinet being reported to have resorted to a desperate roundtable discussion to generate ideas on how to tackle the crisis last week.

Sir Keir took the Tories to task on their handling of the crisis during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday – comparing briefings that the Government was planning in scrapping MOTs to ease cost burdens to Sir John Major’s maligned cones helpline.

Pressure is growing on Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak over their party's response to the cost-of-living crisis as economic issues come to the front of voters' minds

Pressure is growing on Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak over their party's response to the cost-of-living crisis as economic issues come to the front of voters' minds

Pressure is growing on Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak over their party’s response to the cost-of-living crisis as economic issues come to the front of voters’ minds

An Ipsos poll published in the Evening Standard on Friday showed that Labour (32 per cent) are seen as the best party on tax with the Tories lagging behind on 25 per cent.

Despite the strong focus on the economy, the pandemic still remains the focus of voters in some British cities.

Covid (24 per cent) featured heavily in the minds in London, Manchester and Liverpool among the 153 constituencies which rated it as the most important issue for them ahead of Thursday’s poll.

Some way back in third is Brexit (three per cent) which still lingers in the mind of 17 constituencies, 13 of which are in London – including Battersea, Bermondsey and Old Southwark and Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

Other issues which were featured in the modelling included Conduct of Government, Crime, Housing and Immigration amongst others. 

The tracker uses multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) techniques to show which issues matter most to voters.

The focus on the economy will worry Conservatives ahead of the Thursday's local elections - as they trail Labour in polling on trust over handling of public finances

The focus on the economy will worry Conservatives ahead of the Thursday's local elections - as they trail Labour in polling on trust over handling of public finances

The focus on the economy will worry Conservatives ahead of the Thursday’s local elections – as they trail Labour in polling on trust over handling of public finances

It does this by predicting what survey respondents say using information on the respondents’ characteristics and the characteristics of their area and extrapolating that to constituencies.

Commenting on the release of the tracker, Professor Chris Hanretty from Royal Holloway’s Democracy and Elections Centre, said: ‘MPs often talk about what’s important on the doorstep – usually when they want to deflect attention from another issue.

‘Now for the first time we’ve got some insight into what’s important at local level. It’s going to be interesting cross-checking these results against what MPs say people are telling them.’

The focus on the economy will worry Conservatives ahead of the Thursday’s local elections – which will see over 200 local authorities elect new councillors across the UK – with more than 4,000 seats up for grabs in England.

They include parts of the ‘Red Wall’ such as Bury, as well as Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and all 32 London boroughs – as well as every seat in Scotland and Wales. 

The elections are widely billed as an acid test for Boris Johnson’s premiership after a year marred by multiple scandals. – including his fixed penalty notice for his part in the Partygate scandal.

A Survation poll released yesterday found Labour has a 13-point advantage in the parts of England choosing councillors next Thursday.

Signs are not looking good for Johnson after research by Survation showed the 46.9 per cent to 33.7 per cent margin is even bigger than the 41 per cent to 32 per cent recorded the last time the seats were contested.

Research by Survation found Keir Starmer's party has a 13-point advantage in parts of England choosing councillors next Thursday

Research by Survation found Keir Starmer's party has a 13-point advantage in parts of England choosing councillors next Thursday

Research by Survation found Keir Starmer’s party has a 13-point advantage in parts of England choosing councillors next Thursday

There have been claims that the Tories are facing losing up to 800 seats - a scale of disaster which Mr Johnson would not be able to dismiss as a mid-term dip.

There have been claims that the Tories are facing losing up to 800 seats - a scale of disaster which Mr Johnson would not be able to dismiss as a mid-term dip.

There have been claims that the Tories are facing losing up to 800 seats – a scale of disaster which Mr Johnson would not be able to dismiss as a mid-term dip.

There have been claims that the Tories are facing losing up to 800 seats – a scale of disaster which Mr Johnson would not be able to dismiss as a mid-term dip.

But the outcome could be tricky to interpret as many of the seats were last contested when the UK was still in the EU, Theresa May was in No10 and Labour was led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Experts have pointed out that Labour had a very strong performance in 2018, suggesting the party could struggle to make further big gains – despite polls showing a national lead and massive advantage in London.   

Although many of the issues that decide local elections remain the same – such as bin collections and services – they will inevitably be interpreted through the prism of Partygate in the wake of Mr Johnson’s fine.

Restive Conservatives have been holding off a decision on whether to mount a coup until the results come in, meaning the aftermath is likely to be the moment of maximum danger for the PM. 

In a number of boroughs such as Wandsworth, Conservative candidates have been adding ‘local’ to ballot papers in an effort to offset the impact of Partygate. 

Labour and the Lib Dems have been accused of giving each other clear runs in seats where they are taking on Conservatives. 

However, there are signs that Sir Keir party has been struggling in some areas, with mixed results in council by-elections.

Here are some of the key contests to look out for in each region of England, as well as in Wales and Scotland.

There are signs that Sir Keir party has been struggling in some areas, with mixed results in council by-elections

A total of 200 local authorities are holding elections on May 5 - including every seat in Scotland, Wales and London

A total of 200 local authorities are holding elections on May 5 - including every seat in Scotland, Wales and London

A total of 200 local authorities are holding elections on May 5 – including every seat in Scotland, Wales and London

North-west England

Bury – estimated declaration time, 8.30pm Friday May 6

Bury has all of its 51 seats up for grabs this year. Labour has run the council since 2011 but has only a small majority and will want to improve its position in what is the party’s traditional heartland of Greater Manchester. Bury’s status in this year’s elections was reflected by the fact Sir Keir and Mr Johnson both visited the town during the campaign. (E)

Bolton – 12.30am Friday May 6

Bolton is another key test for Labour in Greater Manchester, but here it is hoping to take back control from the Conservatives who have run a minority administration since 2019. A third of the council’s 60 seats are being contested. (12.30am)

Pendle – 4.30pm Friday, May 6

Pendle is being defended by the Conservatives, who won a slim majority last year. If the Tories lose two seats, the council will slip back into no overall control. Elections are taking place for 12 of the 33 seats. (4.30pm)

Cumberland and Westmorland & Furness – 1pm Friday, May 6 

Two new unitary authorities that will elect councillors for the first time this year. The two authorities cover the whole of Cumbria. Cumberland is comprised of the former district councils of Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland, while Westmorland & Furness covers Barrow-in-Furness, Eden and South Lakeland. All the main parties will be jostling for prominence in these new ‘super-councils’ and the outcome in both contests could be close. (Cumberland 2.30am, Westmorland & Furness 1pm)

North-east England

Sunderland – 2am Friday, May 6

Run by Labour since 1973, but both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have made advances in Sunderland in recent years. A third of the council’s 75 seats are up for grabs this year, and if Labour suffers six or more losses it will lose overall control. Although Sunderland is part of Labour’s so-called ‘Red Wall’ – areas of the country that saw many Tory gains at the 2019 general election – all three Sunderland MPs are Labour and the party defied predictions in 2021 when it retained its majority on the council. 

Hartlepool – 2am Friday, May 6 

The Conservatives and Labour are fighting to be in with a chance of taking overall control of the council – or failing that, end up the largest party and lead a minority administration or a coalition. The Tories won the parliamentary seat of Hartlepool from Labour at a by-election in May 2021. A strong showing by independent candidates could spice up the outcome of this year’s contest. Some 13 of the council’s 36 seats are being contested.

Yorkshire & the Humber

Kirklees – 6.30pm Friday, May 6

Currently run by Labour but the party does not have a majority in Kirklees. A third of seats are being elected and just two gains by Labour would give it overall control. Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are also hoping to do well. 

Wakefield – 5pm Friday, May 6

A Labour stronghold and is not likely to change hands, but the party will be hoping for a solid performance ahead of the expected parliamentary by-election in the city later this year, after Conservative MP Imran Khan was convicted of sexual assault. A third of seats are being contested. 

Hull – 3.30am Friday, May 6 

Hull is a two-way fight between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Labour’s majority has been whittled away in recent years and the party goes into this year’s election defending a majority of one. A third of the council’s seats are in play and the Lib Dems are hopeful of victory. (3.30am)

West Midlands

Dudley – 4am Friday, May 6

A crucial test for both the Conservatives and Labour. The Tories hope to build on the slim majority they secured at the 2021 local elections, while Labour will want to halt the blue advance and make gains themselves. A third of the council is up for grabs. (4am)

Solihull – 1pm Friday May 6

Another West Midlands metropolitan council under Conservative control, but the main opposition is the Greens. The party has been slowly eating into the Tories’ majority and will hope to take a few more bites this year. One third of Solihull’s seats are being contested.

Nuneaton & Bedworth – 4am Friday May 6

Dominated by the Conservatives after a bumper performance in last year’s elections. Labour will hope to demonstrate it is making a comeback, having controlled the council as recently as 2018. Half of the 34 seats are holding ballots.

Newcastle-under-Lyme – 3pm Friday May 6

Set to be a battle royal between Labour and the Conservatives, with every council seat up for grabs and the Tories defending a tiny majority. Success here for Labour would suggest the party is winning back support in one of its target areas of country. The parliamentary seat of Newcastle-under-Lyme was won by the Conservatives in 2019 after being held by Labour for the previous 100 years. 

East Midlands

Derby – 5am Friday May 6

Derby is currently run by the Tories as a minority party. Labour will be looking to make gains in another test of party’s ability to win back support in urban areas of central England. An unknown factor is the popularity of the Reform Derby party, based on the former Brexit Party, which is standing candidates in all the seats being contested. There are 17 of the council’s 51 seats up for grabs. 

Eastern England

St Albans – 4pm Friday May 6

St Albans saw the Liberal Democrats make enough gains in 2021 to take overall control, but with a slim majority. The party will want to improve its numbers this year as an example of how it is now the main opposition to the Conservatives in parts of the so-called ‘Blue Wall’ of southern England. The entire council is up for election. (4pm)

Peterborough – 2.30am Friday May 6 

A long-running Conservative-Labour battleground and for decades the council has see-sawed between a Tory majority and no overall control. It is currently run by a minority Conservative administration and Labour will want to make gains to show it is recovering in a city it lost to the Tories at the 2019 general election. A third of seats are being contested. 

Basildon – 1am Friday May 6

This Essex battleground could provide clues to how the Conservatives are doing in the commuter belt around London. The party won control of the council last year and will hope to consolidate its position in elections for a third of its 42 seats. 

Stevenage – 2.30am Friday, May 6

A commuter-heavy area in Hertfordshire, but this time it is Labour who will be hoping to make progress. The party has controlled the council continuously since its creation in 1973 but will want to show it can reverse the losses it made last year. A third of the seats are up for grabs. 

London

Barnet – 7am Friday May 6

Labour’s top target in London for the third election in a row. The party failed narrowly to win control in 2014, while 2018 saw the council swing further towards the Conservatives, with local Labour members blaming the row over antisemitism in the national party. Labour needs to gain nine seats to form a majority. As with every council in London, all seats are being elected. 

Wandsworth – 5.30am Friday May 6

Another long-standing Labour target, but here the party managed to increased its number of councillors in both 2014 and 2018. The Tories have held the council since 1978 and have made a point of charging residents one of the lowest average levels of council tax in the country, so a Labour victory would be of symbolic significance. 

Hillingdon – 4am Friday May 6 

This borough contains the constituency of the Prime Minister and has been controlled by the Conservatives since 2006. Labour is hoping to make gains, but the outcome is hard to predict as the size of the council is being cut from 65 to 53 seats.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer

Restive Conservatives have been holding off a decision on whether to mount a coup against Boris Johnson (left) until the results come in, meaning the aftermath is likely to be the moment of maximum danger. Meanwhile, a failure to make significant progress could cause serious problems for Keir Starmer (right)

Westminster – 3am Friday May 6

A flagship borough held by the Tories continuously since its creation in 1964. But Labour has slowly increased its number of councillors at recent elections and will want to make more progress this time. Given the current volatile political climate, plus a reduction in the size of the council from 60 to 54 seats, the final result could be close. 

Harrow – 5pm Friday May 6 

A council where the reduction in the number of seats from 63 to 55 could work in either Labour or the Conservatives’ favour. Labour won a narrow majority in both 2014 and 2018 but the borough’s electoral districts have been substantially redrawn for 2022 and both parties could profit from the new-look map. 

Sutton – 4am Friday May 6

A Liberal Democrat-Conservative battleground that has been run by the Lib Dems since 1990. The party should retain control again this year, but the Tories will hope to make gains and chip away at the Lib Dems’ small overall majority. 

South-east England

Crawley – 2pm Friday, May 6

Has tilted between Conservative and Labour control in recent years but neither party has an overall majority. It would take only a couple of gains for either the Tories or Labour to take full control of a council deep in the commuter belt of West Sussex. A third of seats are being contested. 

Gosport – 5pm Friday May 6

The council sees the Conservatives, who have only a small majority, under pressure from the second-place Lib Dems. All the seats are up for grabs and boundary changes across the borough means the outcome will be even more unpredictable. 

Worthing – 2pm Friday May 6

A top Labour target and the party goes into the election level-pegging with the Conservatives on 17 seats each. The Tories currently run the council as a minority administration but Labour has made steady gains in recent years and is hoping to take full control this year. A third of seats are being elected.

Southampton – 5am Friday May 6

Another Labour target and winning control from the Conservatives would help demonstrate the party is building back support in southern towns and cities. The Tories are defending a majority of two and a third of the seats are being contested. 

South-west England

Somerset – 4pm Friday May 6

Undergoing major changes this year in its system of local government. Until now the area has had a county council and four district councils (Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and Somerset West & Taunton) but these are being scrapped and replaced with a single unitary authority. Elections are taking place for all 110 seats in the new-look organisation, with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats fighting for control. 

Wales

Blaenau Gwent – 3pm Friday, May 6

This council has been run by a group of independents since 2017, some of whom used to be in the Labour Party. Labour is keen to take back control and might be helped by a reduction in the number of seats from 42 to 33. 

Cardiff – 5pm Friday May 6

A key council for Labour, where the party will hope to defend its slim majority. The number of councillors is being increased slightly from 75 to 79, which might make the outcome more unpredictable. 

Flintshire – 3pm Friday May 6 

Sits in an area of Wales, the north east, where the Conservatives did well at the 2019 general election. The party won only six council seats in 2017 compared with Labour’s 34, so they are hoping to make an advance this year. For its part, Labour will want to remain the largest party and even win a majority, although the total number of seats is being cut from 70 to 67. 

There are claims that the ultra-low emissions zone introduced by Sadiq Khan is playing badly for Labour in outer London - although the party insists it is popular in the capital as a whole

There are claims that the ultra-low emissions zone introduced by Sadiq Khan is playing badly for Labour in outer London - although the party insists it is popular in the capital as a whole

There are claims that the ultra-low emissions zone introduced by Sadiq Khan is playing badly for Labour in outer London – although the party insists it is popular in the capital as a whole 

Scotland

Aberdeenshire – 3pm Friday May 6

A Conservative stronghold, but like many councils in Scotland, power is shared between several parties. All councils in Scotland are elected using the single transferable vote (STV) system, where voters rank candidates and results are based on preferences rather than the winner-takes-all method used in England. This leads to many councils ending in no overall control, but encourages parties to work together either informally or as part of a coalition. The Tories have run Aberdeenshire in partnership with the Lib Dems and a group of Independents. Their success this year may hinge on the popularity in Scotland of the Tories’ UK leader Mr Johnson.

East Renfrewshire – 2pm Friday May 6

A three-way battle between the Conservatives, Labour and the SNP with each hoping to end up the largest party. 

Edinburgh – 3.30pm Friday May 6

The council has been run by a joint SNP-Labour administration for the last five years, but the Conservatives head into this election as the largest party on the council. The Lib Dems and Greens have a smaller number of councillors but both will hope to make gains from the larger parties. 

Glasgow – 4pm Friday May 6 The council has been run by the SNP since 2017 in what has been their first stint in control of the city, albeit as a minority administration. The party needs only a few gains to take full control, but Labour – which had previously run the city since 1980 – is keen to stop them.

Source: Daily Mail

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