Local Elections 2017: Labour retains control of Cardiff City Council amid nationwide losses

Result in Welsh capital rare piece of good news on night of gloom for Corbyn's party

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Indy Politics

Welsh Labour has retained control of Cardiff County Council, fending off a serious challenge from the Tories and Liberal Democrats.

The Welsh capital has been a key battleground for the three major parties, with the Lib Dems hoping for a revival in the area that voted heavily for Remain at the European Union referendum last year.

Welsh elections expert professor Roger Scully said there had been a “much smaller” swing from Labour to Theresa May’s Conservatives in the region than in England.

“Labour’s worst losses in Wales have been to independents in Wrexham, Merthyr and Blaenau Gwent,” he said. “But Labour held up well in Newport, Cardiff and Swansea.”

However, as results filtered in throughout the early hours of Friday morning, it is clear Labour has suffered major loses in other regions.

Speaking on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme, professor John Curtice, who is considered one of the country’s most respected pollsters, said it was “perfectly clear” it has been a “pretty bad” set of results for Jeremy Corbyn’s party.

“After all, back in 2013, Labour didn’t do that well,” he added.  “We said they were getting the equivalent of no more than 30% of the vote. Well, actually, on average, Labour’s share of the vote is down in these overnight results. That is not the kind of performance that you would expect from a party on the brink of a general election victory.”

Overall, in England and Wales so far, the Tories have gained five councils while Labour has lost three – all in Wales, its traditional heartland.

Andrew Gwynee, Labour’s campaign chief, said there are challenges for the party round the country. “I’m not going to hide from that,” he told Sky News. “The one thing we really need to look at here is how we take forward the Labour campaign going into the general election.”

Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, added: “It’s never good to hear that we are losing seats.”

But with expected triumphs for Labour in the elections of “metro mayors” in Manchester and Liverpool, Mr Corbyn could mitigate the scale of defeat by pointing to these victories.

Andy Burnham, the former Shadow Cabinet minister, and Steve Rotherham, an ally of the Labour leader, are widely expected to win the mayoral races in the regions respectively.

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