UK Conservatives gain in local elections; Labour, UKIP sink

Labour tried to play down the significance of a bruising set of results which saw it forfeit more than 300 council seats, lose control of Glasgow for the first time in around 40 years and suffer reverses in Welsh strongholds.

Despite the scale of the Conservative victory, May told reporters that she still believed Labor could win the general election.

Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell acknowledged the party had suffered a tough night, but told ITV the results were not "the wipeout that people expected".

Of the 2,006 adults interviewed by ORB, nearly six in 10, or 59 per cent, said Mr Corbyn should stand down immediately if he loses the general election.

It never gained more than one MP in the United Kingdom parliament, but the former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron was so anxious about the prospect of losing support from voters skeptical of the European Union in the 2015 general election that he promised the in-out referendum.

"Our members will know that politics is a long game and that as well as keeping up the pressure for Brexit, UKIP is now laying down its big agendas for the future; including taking a muscular approach on social integration, campaigning to bring down immigration and arguing for a switch of resources away from foreign aid and into the NHS and other public services".

Losing seats to Tories was "a price Ukip is prepared to pay" for the prize of leaving the European Union, he said.

Labour were down 150 seats and lost control of one council.

One-time party leadership contender Steven Woolfe admitted he would now vote Conservative over Ukip, while a tweet from defector MP Douglas Carswell indicated his former party had served its goal and it was now time to "go home".

Theresa May says the election is not in the bag despite strong local gains.

"To do that you need a proper working majority and that's what Theresa May is asking for from people who previously wouldn't have voted for us and may well have voted either Ukip or Labour".

In a highly symbolic victory, Conservative Ben Houchen became the first elected mayor of Tees Valley, in Labour's north-eastern heartland, beating Labour's Sue Jeffrey by more than 2,000 votes in the second round of counting.

The Liberal Democrats performance was mixed, coming away with 273 council seats - down 26 overall.

"We cant assume that what happens in local elections will automatically be replicated in general elections", said Tory minister Brandon Lewis.

There were positives, with the north west remaining well and truly Labour - Steve Rotheram won the Liverpool City Region mayoral election, while Andy Burnham did the same in Manchester.

With the results in from all 88 local authorities being contested, the Conservatives won 1,900 seats, up 558; Labour won 1,151, down 320; and the pro-EU Liberal Democrats won 441, down 37. They lost 41 seats.

The party's success in Glasgow forced Labour out of power in the city for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips, reporting from Westminster, said it was striking that the Conservatives had made gains in Scotland, pushing Labour - once the dominant political force in Scotland - into third place, behind the Scottish National Party and the Conservatives.

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