Labour suffered a shock defeat in Stoke-on-Trent in the latest council by-elections.
Jackie Barnes, of the City Independents, the authority's largest opposition group, triumphed at Springfields and Trent Vale.
She fought the ward last year under the Community Voice banner.
Labour won a landslide majority in the 2011 main polls but the council had previously been under no overall control for many years.
Tories were relieved to defend two vacancies at Norfolk's Breckland District after a close call in another ward there last week.
Analysis of 14 comparable contests in July suggests a projected 5.8% nationwide Labour lead over Conservatives.
A calculation based on eight wards fought both times by all three major parties gives a line-up of: Lab 33.9%, C 31.1%, Lib Dem 20.0%.
Breckland District - Harling and Heathlands: C 453, Ukip 184, Lab 168, Lib Dem 129. (May 2011 - Two seats C 928, 875, Lab 403). C hold. Swing 3.8% C to Lab.
Breckland District - Mid Forest: C 257, Lab 151. (May 2011 - C unopposed). C hold.
Stoke on Trent City - Springfields and Trent Vale: City Ind 370, Lab 245, Lib Dem 152, C 109, Ukip 105, Ind 36, BNP 27, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts 14, Democratic Nationalists 2. (May 2011 - Lab 537, Lib Dem 321, Community Voice 277, Ukip 206). City Ind gain from Lab. Swing 3.6% Lab to Lib Dem.
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