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Friday evening UK news briefing: Sir Keir Starmer under pressure to resign as police investigate 'beergate'

By Chris Price
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

Only working royals | The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York will not be on the Buckingham Palace balcony at the start of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, as the Queen decides on a guest list of close working family members only. However, Prince Harry and Meghan have confirmed they will attend part of the celebrations with Archie and Lilibet, following confirmation of the plans from Buckingham Palace.

The big story: Starmer faces 'beergate' investigation

This was supposed to be the chance to hammer the Conservatives after months of bad headlines and growing public anger. 

And yet, though the counting is still going on and the full results remain unknown, already one early conclusion is emerging: These local elections have not been a landslide for Labour

There was a rout for Sir Keir Starmer's party in London but outside of the capital in England - including in the North - Labour has not made the major gains desired. 

Ben Riley-Smith analyses why the party has a vast hill to climb if Sir Keir wants the keys to No 10.

Yet there is potentially a bigger problem ahead. 

Durham Police has confirmed it will investigate the Labour leader over the "beergate" allegations. 

It marks an about turn for the force after previously saying they did not believe the Labour leader had breached coronavirus rules when he and colleagues drank beer and had a takeaway curry in April 2021, when most indoor social gatherings were banned. 

Sir Keir is now is facing calls to resign. Watch the times he and deputy leader Angela Rayner called on the Prime Minister to quit over the partygate scandal.

Four of Labour's seven gains so far have occurred within miles of each other, including Wandsworth and Westminster, which have been in Conservative hands for decades. 

But outside of London, the post-Corbyn Labour leadership has failed to ignite the voters. Indeed, the Liberal Democrats regained Hull City Council after more than a decade of Labour control. 

These charts outline why Labour's lacklustre 'Red Wall' wins suggest the party is far from power.

Tom Harris believes Sir Keir’s Labour has been confirmed as the party of the Remainer Islington class.

'Tough night'

Yet there is no disguising that this has been a bad performance from the Conservative Party, with angry local Tory leaders clear on who they believe is to blame

Ousted council chiefs said fury over the partygate scandal and growing concern over the cost-of-living crisis had turned voters against Boris Johnson. 

Indeed, the Conservatives would fall short of a majority if the results of Thursday's local election were replicated nationally, according to a projection. 

The Prime Minister admitted the Tories suffered a "tough night in some parts of the country" after the Conservative Party lost control of three key London councils. 

The Liberal Democrats won control of Somerset, which had been run by the Conservatives since 2009, amid wider woes in the Blue Wall. 

Yet this was no Tory bloodbath. Janet Daley analyses how Mr Johnson was spared by the Red Wall, while party grandee David Davis sets out what he and his colleagues must do to reinvigorate the Conservative Party.

Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland and vice president of the party have been elected in Mid Ulster. 

Michelle O'Neill, the leader of Sinn Féin, refused to say if she believed her party would be the biggest after the elections in Northern Ireland. 

Find out the result here, expected within the hour, which could have huge constitutional implications, given Sinn Féin’s support for a united Ireland. 

Counting continues in Scotland, where the Tories are suffering losses and Labour have been performing well, with the Greens and Liberal Democrats also picking up seats. 

Yet, Alex Salmond's Alba Party looks on course to be wiped out. It had held 11 council seats thanks to councillors who had defected from the SNP.

Follow the full live results across the UK and where you live here.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Russia's Mariupol clean-up begins

Russian road signs are being erected in Mariupol and a major clean-up effort is underway as the Kremlin plans to place the city at the centre of its "Victory Day" celebrations. Photos emerging from the bombed out city on Ukraine's southern coastline show workers in orange overalls pulling down Ukrainian language road signs and erecting Russian ones in their place. For the Kremlin, the May 9 Victory Day parade, celebrating the USSR's victory over Nazi Germany, is a major annual celebration and also a useful propaganda tool. Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, said today that peace would have already been restored in Ukraine if other world leaders were as courageous as Boris Johnson. It comes as Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban said the impact of the EU's plan to ban imports of Russian oil would be like a "nuclear bomb" being dropped on his country's economy.

Friday big-read

'Youse are f------ idiots': Sir Alex Ferguson's most infamous rant

Sir Alex Ferguson angrily defended Juan Sebastian Veron against 'carthorse' jibes
Sir Alex Ferguson angrily defended Juan Sebastian Veron against 'carthorse' jibes

Twenty years on, never-before-heard audio recreates the drama of when Sir Alex Ferguson launched his infamous X-rated rant, and Sam Wallace reveals how it felt to be in the room

Read the full story

Sport briefing: Stokes smashes 64-ball century

England's Test captaincy, on the evidence so far, suits Ben Stokes. In his first innings since being appointed the official captain, Stokes scored 161 off 88 balls for Durham and set a new record of 17 sixes in a County Championship innings. In Formula One, we have an exclusive interview with reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who jokes about how he will become fat when he retires and suggests Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes “isn't that horrific”. See where he places in our rankings of the top 25 F1 drivers of the 21st century. Meanwhile, Erik ten Hag wants Cristiano Ronaldo to stay at Manchester United, where new analysis shows the club have spent £5.7m per point since Sir Alex Ferguson quit.

Editor's choice

  1. Katie Morley special report | Scandal of the incompetent Government pen-pushers
  2. Sophie Ward interview | As a model, I made sure my hotel door was locked
  3. Brutally honest cameo | Liam Neeson has officially left the 'Cancel Club'

Business briefing: 16k jobs at risk as McColl's collapses

McColl's has collapsed into administration, with the owners of Asda expected to buy the ailing convenience store chain. It is unclear how many of the business's 1,100 shops and 16,000 jobs will be saved and what the implications are for its pension schemes. Meanwhile, as the cost of living crisis sweeps the UK, hitting what consumers can spend, experts say as many as one in three chippies could be out of business within the next six months if rising food costs do not level off soon. Hannah Boland looks at the price pressures they face. Businesses are also being hit as a record number of British citizens are preparing to move abroad to escape soaring energy prices and rising inflation. It comes as people turn to an old trick to manage the cost of living crisis.

Tonight starts now

Theatre | Esteemed Belgian director Ivo van Hove's Internationaal Theater Amsterdam has once again teamed up with the Barbican for Age of Rage, a mash-up of tragedies written by ancient-Greek dramatists Euripides and Aeschylus – Iphigenia in Aulis, The Trojan Women, Hecuba, Agamemnon, Electra and Orestes. Read why the timeless, blood-and-thunder tragedy is a marvel to watch. For a different kind of drama, try House of Ife, Beru Tessema's new play about a British Ethiopian family struggling in the aftermath of son Ife's fatal drug addiction, and part of the Bush Theatre's 50th-anniversary season. Or try Claudia Rankine's play The White Card, dealing with the important themes of race and privilege, but perhaps making for unconvincing art.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

TV Baftas predictions | Russell T Davies's Aids crisis drama It’s a Sin is being tipped to bulldoze the competition at the TV Baftas – but should it? Michael Hogan examines who should win... and who will.

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here . For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.

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Dive Deeper:
Monday evening UK news briefing: Sir Keir Starmer takes 'beergate' gamble
Also from this evening's Front Page newsletter: Vladimir Putin's Victory Day speech decoded. Sign up below
Local elections: Five biggest moments as Tories lose historic councils and hundreds of seats
Labour makes significant gains in London, with Keir Starmer calling the results a ‘turning point’
What the papers say – May 7
The Tories are reportedly turning on Boris Johnson over his party’s local election results.
UK local elections: Tories at risk of losing hundreds of council seats in wake of ‘Partygate’
Voting took place yesterday in a host of elections throughout the UK, with party leaders joining millions of people in…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Local elections 2022: Key results so far
Boris Johnson admits party suffered a ‘tough night’ as it loses almost 500 council seats
Bad night for Boris Johnson's Conservatives as Liberal Democrats the major winners
The Prime Minister will be taking a sigh of relief as the Conservatives have not done as poorly as some…
Get all your news in one place