Local elections 2017 as they happened: Results show Tories increase share by more than 550 seats as Labour loses more than 380

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Labour's hopes of preventing a Tory landslide in next month's general election have suffered a demoralising blow after a day of losses in local elections.

In a bad result for Jeremy Corbyn's party has lost more than 380 council seats. Meanwhile, the Conservatives won several metro-mayor contests incluing West Midlands and the West of England.

Theresa May's party also gained control of 11 more councils on an encouraging night for the Prime Minister.

Paul Nuttall's Ukip only managing to hold onto a single seat.

You can follow all the action as it happened in our blog below.

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Local elections 2017: When are they and why could they be so important?

The IndependentWhat elections are taking place this week? The local elections on Thursday will take place in 88 councils - England will see 2,370 seats contested in 27 county councils, six unitary authorities, one metropolitan authority and two mayoralties. All of the councils in Scotland and Wales will be up for election. Some of the results will be declared in the early hours of 5 May but the vast majority will be announced in the day.
Polls across England, Scotland and Wales have now closed. 
 
Here are the times results are expected to come in throughout the early hours of the morning and afternoon on Friday:
 
 http://election.pressassociation.com/Declaration_times/all_2017_by_time.php
Here are some of the contests to watch out for in the early hours:
 
Somerset: A key target for the Lib Dems who only need a small swing to oust the Conservatives as the biggest party. But the Tories will aim to pick up the three Ukip-held seats.
 
Lincolnshire: The Tories are just short of an overall majority, and will have high hopes of making gains where Ukip performed strongly in 2013.
 
Cardiff: Labour has a slim majority in the Welsh capital. The Lib Dems will be hoping for gains in a city which voted heavily for Remain.
 
Monmouthshire: The Conservatives lost overall control five years ago, but are confident of translating high poll ratings into council gains.
The local elections on Thursday took place in 88 councils - England will see 2,370 seats contested in 27 county councils, six unitary authorities, one metropolitan authority and two mayoralties. All of the councils in Scotland and Wales will be up for election. Some of the results will be declared in the early hours of Friday but the vast majority will be announced in the afternoon.
 
While the results on Friday will not be a direct read-across for the Westminster elections in five weeks’ time, they will provide a crucial indicator as to whether the Conservatives are gaining momentum across the regions of the UK – and whether the votes reflect the party’s significant lead in the opinion polls, which have them on course to increase their majority in June.
.@Independent But. Before that happens, at 3am, I'll be looking at this for a while: indy100.com/article/dogs-p…
Before the first result comes in (expected at 2am in the Isle of Wight), David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, and Paul Nutall, the Ukip leader, will be on BBC's Question time in around 10 minutes.
On BBC Question Time...
 
I think the display we’ve seen over the last 48 hours is very worrying, says Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, speaking about May’s position towards the other EU leaders.
 
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, says the leak on the EU dinner was a misleading briefing. He says we’re very lucky we’ve got a “bloody difficult woman” in Theresa May.
This is from The Sun's deputy political editor:
Paul Nuttall says "no deal is better than a bad deal" on #bbcqt . Not heard that one before.

This is from the Press Association: 

Conservative council candidates in Wales are "Theresa May's candidates" and will form part of her strong and stable leadership if they triumph in the local government elections, the party has said.

The comments came as counting began in Wales' local government elections, in which all of the nation's 22 councils went to the polls on Thursday.

Ahead of the election, Labour held 536 seats and had outright control of 10 of the local authorities but was facing challenges from Plaid Cymru, Tories, Lib Dems and Ukip, which had a breakthrough with seven AMs elected in regional PR top-up seats in the Welsh Assembly elections last May.

Labour, which won 10 of 21 unitary authorities in Wales in the 2012 local election, will be hoping to hold up its share of the vote despite polls that have warned the party could face "heavy losses", and has fielded 910 candidates.

Plaid Cymru had 177 councillors and is fielding 549 candidates while the Tories held 103 seats and have put 621 names on ballots across the country.

A Conservative Party spokeswoman said they had candidates in every constituency - a record number - and that they had all been campaigning hard in the lead-up to the election.

She said: "We are out there to win.

"These are Theresa May's candidates - it is all part of a strong and stable leadership, a Conservative prime minister that is out fighting for the country and the council candidates are her candidates."

 

David Davis says "they're all too much" when asked about demands for 60bn-100bn EU divorce bill. #bbcqt .
"I actually like Jeremy Corbyn," concedes David Davis on #bbcqt . "I'd have 10 Corbyn's over one Blair," says Paul Nuttall. Interesting.
Clem Atlee's grandaughter Jo Roundell Greene is running for Parliament at general election - for the Lib Dems: somersetlive.co.uk/liberal-democr…
She's standing in David Laws' old Yeovil constituency, which the party lost to the Conservatives in 2015.
Tories lost overall control of Monmouthshire five years ago - and will be wanting to make gains in this area...
twitter.com/britainelects/…
Not to be a buzz kill but there 4,846 council seats yet to announce their results guys. Let's not pretend there's a trend already.

What elections have taken place?

The local elections on Thursday took place in 88 councils - England saw 2,370 seats contested in 27 county councils, six unitary authorities, one metropolitan authority and two mayoralties. All of the councils in Scotland and Wales were up for election. Some of the results were declared in the early hours of 5 May but the vast majority were announced during the day.

A by-election in Manchester Gorton, triggered by the death of Labour MP Gerald Kaufman, was also due to take place but has now been delayed until the day of the general election.

Will it be a wipe out for Labour? What will the results tell us about the general election?

While the results on Friday will not be a direct read-across for the Westminster elections in five weeks’ time, they will provide a crucial indicator as to whether Ms May’s Conservatives are gaining traction in the three regions where the local elections are taking place.

One analysis by Robert Hayward, a Tory peer and pollster, suggests that Labour could lose around 125 council seats across the UK as he predicted the worst local election results for an opposition party since 1985 – excluding the years when there was also a general election.

Speaking to The Independent, John Curtice, a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, who is considered one of the country’s top polling experts, said he was expecting Labour to lose seats in Scotland, Wales and parts of England. “They’re losing ground everywhere,” he said.

He said the results will provide answers to how far the Conservatives have advanced. “Is it on the kind of scale you might expect from the opinion polls or not?” he said.

“How far do they advance in Scotland? Is the SNP slipping, if so, by how much?

“They will give us further information, further to that of opinion polls, as to where the parties stand at the beginning of the campaign. They won’t necessarily tell you where we’ll end up at the end of the campaign. They will provide us with an indication as to whether or not Theresa May has made a good bet or not.

“They should be making really big gains if they’re doing as well as the opinion polls suggest,” he added. “There should be a very substantial movement in their direction.”

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