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.
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- These local elections could be a nightmare scenario for Jeremy Corbyn
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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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