Marble Arch Mound empty on opening day after council suspends new bookings

The Conservatives have lost flagship councils in London overnight and people think they’ve identified one reason as to why.

Social media users have been reacting after the first local election results were announced early this morning. Labour won the Tory council of Westminster, which has been held by the Conservatives since its creation in 1964.

And what reason are some people giving? The Marble Arch Mound.

The mound opened to a less-than-rapturous reception last year, before closing after being universally derided.

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It even issued refunds to disappointed punters, then reopened again for free. The disastrous episode also caused a councillor to resign after turning out to be way more expensive than forecast.

The mound opened to little fanfare in 2021Tolga Akmen / AFP

It closed less than six months after the visitor attraction was opened, having cost £6m to create – nearly double the £3.3m budget set by Westminster City Council.

Twitter users have been putting the mound at least partly to blame for the Tory loss in Westminster last night, with one writing: “What a hill to die on.”

Another said: “Big shout out to the Marble Arch Mound for its solid campaigning work in the run-up to the elections.”

As well as Westminster, Labour won Wandsworth which is often described as the “crown jewel” of the London councils for the Tories and cited as Margaret Thatcher’s favourite council.

Conservative MP David Simmonds said Boris Johnson has some "difficult questions" to answer after the party's losses in the local elections.

The MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner said voters were unhappy about the disclosures over lockdown parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.

“It was a pretty clear message on the doorstep. Clearly the Prime Minister has got some difficult questions to answer,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“Overwhelmingly the message that I heard on the doorsteps was people were broadly positive about the government's policies but they are not happy about what they have been hearing about partygate.

“He said, 'I will take full responsibility for these election results', and I think he needs to confront that question now.”

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