In London, the British Labour Party performed strongly in country-wide local elections, especially in non-white boroughs where it already had a healthy lead over the Conservatives when the seats were last contested, in 2014.
Judged by the numbers of seats, Labour put in its best performance ever in a series of outer London boroughs, including Ealing, Croydon, Enfield and Waltham Forest, The Guardian reported. There was also a marked swing to Labour inside London.
“Labour gained a lot of seats across the whole country; we gained a lot of votes in places we never had those votes before,” Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn noted. But the anti-Semitism scandal gripping the Labour Party also had an impact on the outcome.
Tories, boosted by the total collapse of support for UKIP, saw good results around the country. Thus the Conservative Party took Basildon and Peterborough. The two main parties now hold 2 308 and 1 230 seats in councils respectively.
UKIP were the big losers, dropping 57 seats to hold just three. The British National Party BNP were wiped out altogether.
The Liberal Democrats currently control nine councils, up four, with 536 seats – a gain of 77. The Greens increased their number by eight seats to 39.
The Tory party appeared to have made gains predominantly in areas which had voted for Brexit, as it profited from the collapse of UKIP. “The electorate that it now has is disproportionately a leave electorate,” one analyst pointed out. If the Conservatives do not deliver on Brexit, voters will go back to UKIP.
UKIP Leader, Gerard Batten, has slammed Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament, Richard Corbett, after he raised the possibility of a second EU referendum, saying “while another vote may be the great hope of the pro-European political elite; it will do nothing more than further polarise public opinion on the matter of Brexit”.
While the Conservatives took control of councils in Basildon and Peterborough, they lost immigrant-populated Trafford, in Greater Manchester, and the Mole Valley to Labour.
Considering at one stage Theresa May was braced to face a leadership challenge as Tory results were expected to be a total disaster, she was saved by the collapse of UKIP.
On Friday night Tower Hamlets became the last council to declare, with Labour the winner. The party has been left with 74 councils, the same number as before the election. The Conservatives control 46 – down two.
Labour’s stand out victory was Plymouth, a former Tory council. Johnny Mercer MP blamed the result on government defence policies.
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