British PM Theresa May's Conservatives make gains in local elections

Frederick Owens
May 20, 2017

This isn't a prediction, as such - it's based purely on the general election vote in 2015, looks only at one change in voting habits since 2015, and assumes a blanket national swing.

(John Linton/PA via AP).

"If there is an increasingly confrontational attitude between Westminster and Brussels, the [local election] results today suggest that Theresa May is the political victor domestically of that process", said Al Jazeera's Phillips.

The Conservatives took most of those seats, and Nuttall said that was a price Ukip is "prepared to pay" for the prize of leaving the EU.

The results of Thursday's local election are still coming in but it's clear already that it was a good night for the Conservatives.

Five weeks before the British general elections, Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party made significant gains in local elections on Friday.

Results were coming in Friday for local councils in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as mayoral competitions in several cities.

The Conservatives have won the most seats on Nottinghamshire County Council - but fell short of gaining a controlling majority in a dramatically close local election.

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Portraying herself as a rock of stability in turbulent times, May is urging voters to give the Conservatives a bigger majority in Parliament in the June 8 national election in order to strengthen Britain's hand in exit talks with the European Union.

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Phillips said Labour would try to take comfort from the low turnout, expected to be doubled in a general election.

Despite the apparently dismal showing, Labour MPs have been advised to say the results are merely "disappointing" and that the party has done "better than people were predicting".

Most dramatically, it lost ground in Scotland, where the Conservatives - long all-but-extinct there - made gains.

Mr Corbyn, whose leadership had been widely criticised from within the Labour ranks, described the results as "mixed" and claimed the party was "closing the gap" on the Conservatives.

Labour faces a challenge on a "historic scale" if it is to win the General Election on June 8, Jeremy Corbyn has said, after the party suffered heavy losses in the local council polls.

The Liberal Democrats had 195 seats, a net loss of 24, and UKIP failed to win any seat.

Since then it has suffered something of an identity crisis post-referendum, with voters clearly struggling to see a objective for Ukip after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

These were quite odd local elections for the Liberal Democrats, as they were competing in county council elections, but not in the more Remain-leaning city seats that make up many of their key election targets in England.

The SNP candidate in Ochil and South Perthshire,
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, said: "The reality of results in England is that it shows Ukip have won control of this increasingly hard-right Tory government".

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