Tories lose flagship London authority Wandsworth as they suffer setbacks across England

LBC anchor Iain Dale was caught out while covering the local elections last night, after reading out a parody meme believing it to be true.

Social media was flooded with hot takes and reactions as polling took place in the UK on Thursday – as well as a few well-observed jokes.

Dale failed to recognise a meme format which has been circulating every election night over recent years, and repeated it live on air while discussing 'beergate'.

In February 2022, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was cleared of breaking lockdown rules after he was filmed drinking a beer while having food in an office in April 2021, but publications have been recirculating the story with some Tory MPs calling for the police to reinvestigate the case in the run up to the local elections.

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Speaking on the show, Dale said: “I’ve seen someone on Twitter earlier saying they went into a polling station and a 95-year-old lady was there saying: ‘Where can I can my vote on beergate?’ And she got a round of applause from other people in the polling station…”

People who have been glued to election Twitter over recent years will likely recognise the format of the joke, which was inspired by a post during the Brexit referendum in 2016 which quickly got out of hand.

Back then, social media user Keith Adams posted: “Just took 93yr Mum to vote, she’s registered blind. In a very loud voice she said, “Which box for out?” A cheer went up from waiting voters.”

It quickly inspired hundreds of mock responses, with people making up their own false stories.

One such person was journalist Sam Freedman, whose tweet was read out by Dale, and who quickly put the record straight afterwards.

He wrote in response: “When I did this tweet I genuinely thought it would be liked by maybe 50 politics nerds as a call back to an old meme.

“15k likes later and this happens. Twitter is a very strange and unpredictable place.”

It comes after Labour managed a historic win in the Tory council of Westminster, which has been held by the Conservatives since its creation in 1964.

The biggest result in the capital for the party was Wandsworth, though, which is often described as the “crown jewel” for the Tories and cited as Margaret Thatcher’s favourite council.

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