Britain’s Labour Party won mayoral polls in London and central England on Saturday, in crushing defeats for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s unpopular Conservatives ahead of a national election due later this year.

While Labour politician Sadiq Khan’s re-election as London mayor was widely expected, Labour also snatched a surprise, narrow victory in the central West Midlands region that is home to Britain’s second-largest city of Birmingham.

The wins are Labour’s latest in┬álocal elections┬áto councils and mayoralties on Thursday and could fuel fresh calls for Sunak to step down.

Opinion polls predicted that Labour will win the next national election, propelling Keir Starmer to power and ending 14 years of Conservative government in Britain. Sunak has said he intends to call a vote in the second half of the year.

Conservative West Midlands Mayor Andy Street lost to his Labour opponent Richard Parker. Street’s 37.5% of the vote was eclipsed by 37.8% for Parker, a razor-thin margin translating to 1,508 votes.

“It’s been a difficult few months, we faced a campaign of non-stop negativity,” Khan said in a speech after the results showed he had won 43.8% of the vote against 33% for the Conservatives’ candidate, Susan Hall.

“For the last eight years, London has been swimming against the tide of a Tory (Conservative) government and now with a Labour Party that’s ready to govern again under Keir Starmer, it’s time for Rishi Sunak to give the public a choice.”

Khan, 53, became the first Muslim mayor of the British capital in 2016.

Hall had made scrapping ULEZ a centrepiece of her campaign but the 69-year-old Donald Trump fan made a series of gaffes and faced accusations of racism after being found to have engaged with far-right content online.

In one bright spot for Conservatives, Ben Houchen won re-election as mayor of Tees Valley in northern England on Friday.

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