Theresa May's party secures big gains in local elections

Nick Sanchez
May 14, 2017

But as YouGov has said, today's results are likely to represent a best-case scenario for Labour: The Conservatives generally do better in general elections than locals, and in Wales in recent weeks were polling 12 points higher for the general election than the local.

Elections expert Michael Thrasher told Sky News Ukip's share of the national vote could fall as low as 3%, down from 22% in the same contests in 2013.

The survey, carried out before this week's big Conservative victory in local elections, put the Liberal democrats on 9 percent and the anti-EU UKIP on 7 percent.

34 councils in England - including Hertfordshire - are up for grabs, along with all in Wales and Scotland.

What makes the Conservatives' local election success all the more extraordinary is the fact it is usually the opposition - not the governing party - that makes gains.

But the shock of the election came in Padiham and Burnley West.

By 5.15pm, the Tories had won 164 new council seats, while Labour lost 112.

The divisions in the Labour ranks were underlined when former shadow home secretary Andy Burnham - the party's newly-elected metro mayor for Manchester - failed to show up for a visit to the city by Mr Corbyn to celebrate his triumph.

The result is a shift from Labour to Tory - with Labour winning the most seats last time out.

The party won just one seat, down 133.

Labour had 466 seats - a net loss of 137 - while the smaller, pro-EU Liberal Democrats, who had been hoping to pick up some momentum ahead of June's parliamentary election, had 167 seats, a net loss of 23.

They needed 43 seats to take control of the local authority - they now have 46 seats.

But both parties lost out this time.

Independents in Ashfield, Kirkby and Sutton have stunned Nottinghamshire County Council by gaining six County Council seats.

But the results were widely seen as vindication both for her tough line on Brexit - threatening to walk away from talks with the remaining European Union if she can not get a good deal - as well as her decision to call a snap election.

With the proportion approving of her performance slipping two points to 46%, Mrs May's overall satisfaction rating stood at plus-13, down four points over the week, and down eight points from the plus-21 recorded before the campaign began, but still well ahead of Jeremy Corbyn on minus-32 and Tim Farron on minus-25.

In Scotland, Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said only her party could lead the "fightback against the SNP" - who want another independence referendum. "We have more votes, more seats and are in the driving seat of more councils than any other party".

The SNP had 431 seats across Scotland, down seven.

Corbyn admitted that Labour faced a challenge on an "historic scale". "What we've seen is the collapse of Labour and that's the reason for the increase in the Conservative vote".

"We've lost some big personalities", he said.

One seat in Northumberland, north-east England, had to be decided by drawing straws following a tie.

Plaid Cymru gained 32 councillors, with 202 in all.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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