Labour surged in votes and seats with two gains in the latest council by-elections.
Its candidate Iona Gordon scored a landslide victory against Plaid Cymru to triumph at Riverside, Cardiff.
There was a second gain for the party when Lawrence Hunt captured a Central ward seat from Tories at Wigan, Greater Manchester.
Labour had taken another seat in the ward in last year's polls after a split in the Conservative vote.
The overall results, including the Barnsley Central Commons contest, again showed the two nations trend with huge swings to Labour in its own strongholds but Tory support holding up in their traditional areas.
Labour did however oust Lib Dems from second place in the only poll won by Tories at Cambridgeshire's March North division.
The one Conservative crumb of comfort was the low swing to Labour at marginal Wigan Central - if Tory votes are totalled with those for the rebel independent candidate.
Analysis of all five council results suggest a 3% Labour nationwide lead over Tories.
Including last night's Barnsley Central Commons by-election would raise this figure to 5%.
A calculation based on four results - including Barnsley Central - where all three major parties fought both times gives a line-up of: Lab 43.8%, C 34.4%, Lib Dem 11.7%.
Cambridgeshire County - March North: C 616, Lab 282, Lib Dem 277. (June 2009 - C 985, Lib Dem 538, Lab 242). C hold. Swing 6.8% C to Lab.
Cardiff City - Riverside: Lab 1700, Plaid Cymru 1099, C 369, Green 277, Lib Dem 187. (May 2008 - Three seats Plaid Cymru 1064, 1064, 991, Lab 786, 743, 707, C 295, Lib Dem 280, 250, 235, C 209, 206). Lab gain from Plaid Cymru. Swing 14.7% Plaid Cymru to Lab.
Salford City - Walkden North: Lab 1291, C 209, English Democrats 125, BNP 92, Lib Dem 62. (May 2010 - Lab 2231, C 960, Lib Dem 764, English Democrats 424). Lab hold. Swing 15.9% C to Lab.
West Dunbartonshire Council - Kilpatrick: Lab 1382, SNP 758, C 161. (May 2007 - Three seats Lab 1356, 1188, SNP 1092, 403, C 378, Scottish Socialist Party 138. Elected Lab 2, SNP 1). Lab hold. Swing 2% SNP to Lab.
Wigan Borough - Central: Lab 1165, C 652, Ind C 393, Ukip 189. (May 2010 - Lab 2477, C 1522, Ind C 1090, Ukip 475, BNP 306). Lab gain from C. Swing 2.5% C to Lab.Reuse content