THE leader of the city council admitted defeat and headed home before a result was even announced at last night’s election count blaming the government for the party’s poor performance.

Cllr Marc Bayliss, leader of Worcester City Council and head of the council’s Conservatives, threw in the towel and departed home from the Guildhall, the stage for Thursday’s election count, as hundreds of ballots were still being verified.

The council leader said many of the city’s Conservative voters had decided to stay at home on May 5 because of the Partygate scandal in which Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were both fined by the police for their involvement in the rule-breaking parties during the Covid-19 lockdown.

READ MORE: Conservatives lose control of Worcester City Council

Questions were also asked about how the results would affect his position as leader of the council to which Cllr Bayliss said: “We’ll see… if this is the end of it tonight I will have very much enjoyed and hope I have made some contribution to Worcester.

“I’m very happy doing the job and if my colleagues wish me to continue doing the job then I am happy to do so. I’ll let them decide.”

On the night, the Conservatives lost three seats and overall control of the city council after the party’s one-seat majority was quickly wiped out.

Speaking ahead of his departure from the Guildhall before the results were announced, a despondent Cllr Bayliss said: “It’s going to be a pretty poor night for us tonight. I think we’re going to lose several seats.

“Partygate has had a big impact on our turnout and people have decided to stay at home.”

Asked whether the scandal was the only reason for the potential loss of council seats, Cllr Bayliss said: “Not really. [On the doorsteps] it’s been about Boris Johnson.

“I take that to be Partygate rather than general government performance. That’s my perception.

“Nobody is really saying anything about the cost of living. I’m sure it’s biting but I don’t necessarily think that the public blame the government for that.”

Worcester MP Robin Walker, who was also present at the count, disagreed with the council leader saying the cost of living crisis had “very much been” a huge issue for voters he spoke to in the run-up to the election.