Theresa May 'taking nothing for granted' despite local elections triumph

Andy Burnham

Andy Burnham

Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips, reporting from Westminster, said it was striking that the Conservatives had made gains in Scotland, pushing Labour - once the dominant political force in Scotland - into third place, behind the Scottish National Party and the Conservatives.

In the West Midlands and Tees Valley, both previously solid Labour areas, Corbyn's party lost out to the Tories in the metro mayor election.

The Tories secured more than 550 council seats and seized control of 11 additional councils in this week's contests.

UKIP needs to rebrand itself as a left wing, state interventionalist party with a nationalist edge if it is to survive, an Exeter academic has said after analysing council election results.

With about a quarter of the votes counted, May's party had gained control of five councils, added more than 100 new councilors and taken the new position of mayor for the city of Bristol and surrounding area in western England. "Only a general election vote for the Conservatives will strengthen my hand to get the best deal on Brexit".

The strong performance of the Conservative Party indicated that May's Brexit strategy is winning over voters.

"Don't wake on up on June 9 to see celebrations from the tax cheats, the press barons, the greedy bankers, Philip Green, the Southern Rail directors and crooked bankers that take our wealth, who have got away with it because the party they own, the Conservative Party, has won", he said.

"The reality is that today, despite the evident will of the British people, we have bureaucrats in Europe who are questioning our resolve to get the right deal".

In the previous local elections, UKIP saw a surge of voters when it campaigned on a single issue of Brexit.

Theresa May has insisted she is "taking nothing for granted" following emphatic local election victories which have sparked predictions she is heading for a landslide in the June 8 General Election.

Mr Corbyn described the results as "mixed" and insisted they were "closing the gap" on the Conservatives, but acknowledged they faced a huge challenge. Of course Theresa May performed a massive U-turn, called a General Election and made them doubly hard for us.

"And yet they lost the election yesterday".

"We know this is no small task - it is a challenge on a historic scale".

"It's quite clear looking at the opinion polls over the last few weeks that as soon as Theresa May called a general election we started to slide down a cliff, because this has become a bit of a referendum in itself on the Brexit process I think".

But he sent out a defiant message to the leader's critics, saying: "He is the leader of the Labour Party and will continue as the leader of the Labour Party".

Labour suffered heavy losses in England and Scotland, losing control of Glasgow city council, where the Scottish National Party (SNP) emerged as the biggest party.

But after two recounts, Liberal Democrat candidate Lesley Rickerby and her Conservative opponent Daniel Carr could not be separated, having exactly the same number of votes.

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