In an interview with BBC News, Straw said voters clearly wanted to punish Labor. He said the local elections were a chance for a "mid-term protest vote" against the decision to abolish a minimum income tax rate.
"There's no question that the 10-pence tax has affected some people, not as many as the newspapers suggest, but those who it has affected it has affected adversely," Straw said.
In overall voting Thursday, Labor ran 20 points behind the Conservative Party, with only 24 percent of the vote. The Liberal Democrats picked up 25 percent and the Conservatives 44 percent. The Conservatives also picked up the biggest single prize when Boris Johnson ousted Ken Livingstone as mayor of London.