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Tories make gains in United Kingdom local elections

08 May 2017

That figure this time appears to be down to barely 3 per cent.

May's claim that the European Union was meddling in British affairs, which propelled her on to the front page of every national newspaper on Thursday morning as voters headed to the polls, was believed to have contributed to her party's success against Ukip.

Jeremy Corbyn's office are keen to find out just how much of this had been carried out in areas where council results were poor. The huge majority she covets will free her from worrying about how to sell the Brexit deal she gets to Parliament, as well as allowing her to implement whatever domestic policies she chooses.

"They're individual contests being fought in very differing situations, from local council-level, issue-driven campaigns up to large mayoral fights with some well-known politicians", a Labour party spokesperson said.

One of the most detrimental council losses for the party was Glasgow, Scotland's biggest city and once the staunchest of Labour strongholds.

Most of Thursday's gains for the Conservatives came at the expense of Labour.

The Lib Dems have 118 councillors, a net loss of 13; Plaid Cymru in Wales is on 44, a net gain of six and the Greens are on 10, a net gain of four. The Tories gained one council, Monmouthshire, while Labour lost control of Blaneau Gwent and Bridgend.

That would mirror a trend predicted in polls for next month's national election, showing the Conservatives becoming the party of choice for many of those who reject Scottish independence.

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May's decision to call an early general election ensured her own record and Brexit would be on voters' minds when they went to the polls on Thursday to choose almost 5,000 new local councillors.

The Tories also performed well in the mayoral elections, winning tightly-fought battles for elected mayors in the West Midlands and significantly Tees Valley, where Conservative Ben Houchen became the first elected mayor in Labour's north-eastern heartland, beating Labour's Sue Jeffrey by more than 2,000 votes in the second round of counting. But the biggest losers have been the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP), which is set to be completely annihilated after losing every local seat it had under its control.

"It's been a hard night", the Ukip leader conceded.

Mr Lavery also dismissed speculation of a rift between Mr Corbyn and Manchester mayor Mr Burnham.

Party leader Paul Nuttall claimed they were "victims of our own success" in driving the agenda on Brexit. Finance spokesman John McDonnell described the results as tough, but "it hasn't been the wipe-out that some people predicted or the polls predicted".

Time and again the phrase they use is that those around Jeremy Corbyn must "own" any defeat.

The prime minister's comments followed leaked comments in the British and European press suggesting the EU thinks the United Kingdom is not being realistic about the conditions of its EU exit and the complexity of the negotiations ahead. Speaking after a visit to a factory in Brentford, west London, where the Tories are hoping to overturn a Labor majority of just 465, the prime minister said: "The reality is that, despite the evident will of the British people, we have bureaucrats in Europe who are questioning our resolve to get the right deal".