Local and mayoral results: Tories advance amid Labour losses

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Media captionLabour has had disappointing results in the local and mayoral elections.

The Conservatives have made big gains at the expense of Labour and UKIP in local elections across Britain.

The Tories won control of 11 new councils in England and Wales and are making headway in Scotland, where Labour lost control of Glasgow.

UKIP has been virtually wiped out, losing 136 councillors, while the Lib Dems have lost more than 30 seats.

The projected national vote share for the Tories is 38% to Labour’s 27%, the Lib Dems’ 18% and UKIP’s 5%.

  • Local elections: Latest updates
  • Laura Kuenssberg: Tories up, others down

Conservative leader Theresa May has said she is “taking nothing for granted” in 8 June’s general election because there is “too much at stake”.

Mrs May said she would be fighting every day of the next five weeks to “earn the support of the British people” to strengthen her hand in negotiations with the European Commission over Brexit.

The Conservatives scored a victory in Tees Valley, a traditional Labour stronghold, where their candidate Ben Houchen was elected the area’s first metro mayor. He hailed it as a “political earthquake”.

Tory candidate Andy Street beat Labour’s Sion Simon to be elected metro mayor for the West Midlands by a narrow margin.

The party also gained control in Derbyshire, Monmouthshire and Norfolk, while Labour lost control of Glasgow as well as Bridgend and Blaenau Gwent.

Labour’s Andy Burnham was elected as Greater Manchester’s first metro mayor, with 61% of the vote.

Polling expert John Curtice said that if the council results in so far were reflected at next month’s general election, Theresa May would win a bigger majority – but he questioned whether she would get the landslide she was hoping for.

The 11-point Tory lead over Labour in the projected national share is smaller than their 17% average lead in recent opinion polls, he added.

The projected national share figures are what the share of the vote would be if all parts of Britain had local elections and had voted in the same way as Thursday’s English county council elections.


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Good time for the Conservatives

As well as Derbyshire, the Conservatives have taken charge of Warwickshire, Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, the Isle of Wight, Norfolk and Monmouthshire, all of which were previously under no overall control.

So far, the party has only lost three seats as it also held onto Dorset, Essex and Somerset among others.

The Conservative candidate for the new Metro Mayor post for the West of England, Tim Bowles, beat Labour’s Lesley Mansell by 51.6% to 48.4%.

Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the outcome was “very encouraging”, but denied the general election was in the bag, saying the results were not an “accurate prediction” of next month’s poll.

  • Straw draw denies Tories control

Disappointment for Labour

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Media captionLabour’s John McDonnell tells Today media is distorting Jeremy Corbyn’s image

Labour lost ground in Lincolnshire, Cumbria and Warwickshire. Phil Johnson, the party’s general election candidate in Nuneaton, lost his seat on Warwickshire council to the Conservatives.

The performance was labelled “pretty disastrous” by ex-MP Stephen Kinnock, who is standing again in Aberavon.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said this was not the “wipe-out that many commentators were forecasting” and Labour was building a “solid base” for the general election.

But the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the opposition should be “gobbling up” seats rather than trying to “put a rosy picture” on holding onto seats in some of their traditional heartlands.

  • Westminster hopeful loses council seat

What’s happened in Scotland?

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The SNP has replaced Labour as the biggest party in Glasgow, but fell short of a majority.

And despite also replacing Labour as the largest party in Aberdeen, and finishing as comfortably the biggest party across the country, the SNP lost overall control of Dundee and Angus councils – the only two areas where it had won majorities in 2012.

It was a strong night for the Conservatives, who increased their number of councillors by more than 130, including in areas that had previously been “no-go” for the party.

SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a “clear and emphatic” victory for her party and a “great springboard for the general election,” saying the Tory gains were at the expense of Labour.

But Labour’s John McDonnell said the SNP had fallen back, a sign of the “increasing rejection” of the case for a second independence referendum.

  • Conservatives make gains across Scotland

What’s happened in Wales?

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Brendan Toomey, Labour leader on Merthyr council, was among those to lose his seat

It was a mixed picture for Labour in Wales, where it has been the dominant force in local government for decades.

It lost 13 councillors in Bridgend, meaning it has conceded control of a council where it had three-quarters of councillors just five years ago.

And Labour’s losses in Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil now mean that independent councillors now outnumber all the other parties combined on those two councils.

Merthyr Tydfil’s Labour leader Brendan Toomey, among those to lose his seat, said the party was “having a very disappointing evening to say the least”.

Vaughan Gething, a member of the Labour government in Wales, said there was an “awful lot of work” for the party to do before the general election.

He told Radio 4’s Today there had been “mixed messages” on the doorsteps about Jeremy Corbyn but there had also been strong results – with his party “turning back the Tory tide” and managing to hold on to Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.

  • Labour losses in Wales ‘not so bad’

UKIP’s ‘challenging night’

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Media captionUKIP’s Peter Reeve maintains on Today his party is still leading the national agenda

UKIP’s foothold in local government achieved four years ago was wiped out, as the party lost more than 130 seats.

In Lincolnshire, where UKIP had 16 councillors elected in 2013 and was the official opposition on the council, the party has lost all of its remaining 13 seats.

It also lost all its seats in Warwickshire, Hampshire, Essex and the Isle of Wight, which were taken by the Conservatives.

Former UKIP leadership contender Steven Woolfe said the party’s influence was “at an end” and its former MP Douglas Carswell said “it was over”.

But party leader Paul Nuttall said UKIP, which did well in 2013 council elections and won 3.8 million votes in the 2015 general election, was a “victim of its own success”.

  • UKIP suffers big losses in council polls

What about the Lib Dems and Greens?

Lib Dem president Sal Brinton described her party’s performance overall as “patchy”, while former business secretary Vince Cable said there had been no “spectacular breakthrough”.

The Conservatives saw off the Lib Dems’ challenge to hold on to Somerset County Council. The Lib Dems lost six seats although former MP Tessa Munt ousted the Conservative leader John Osman.

In Cumbria, where party leader Tim Farron is hoping to be re-elected as MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, the party failed to increase its representation.

Ex-MP Stephen Williams came third in the race to be the new metro mayor for the west of England.

The Green Party has gained six seats in England while Plaid Cymru has added eight in Wales. It has also been a good night for those unaffiliated to any political party, with 28 more independents than before.

  • Tories increase control in Somerset

Metro mayor results

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Andy Burnham is the first Manchester metro mayor

Voters in the West of England, Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City region, the West Midlands, Tees Valley, and Cambridge and Peterborough have all been electing “metro mayors” covering combined local authority areas.

Labour former cabinet minister Andy Burnham has won the mayoral contest in Greater Manchester, with 63% of the vote.

He said it was the start of a “new era” for the the region and an end to “London-centric” politics.

Ben Houchen, who won Tees Valley for the Conservatives, said after defeating Labour’s Sue Jeffrey: “We are seeing a massive trend towards the Conservatives. We have started to turn the Tees Valley blue.”

In the West Midlands, Conservative Andy Street, a former John Lewis boss, beat former Labour MP Sion Simon.

The mayors will mostly be responsible for economic development, but some will have powers over transport and housing.

In Doncaster and North Tyneside, residents voted for local authority mayors, who are elected leaders of their respective councils.

Labour’s Ros Jones was elected in Doncaster on the first ballot, as was Labour’s Norma Readfearn in North Tyneside.


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