British local elections give May a boost ahead of key vote

by Garry Watts May 8, 2017, 15:37

The early results suggested that Mrs May's Conservatives had taken votes from both Labour and Ukip, signalling that her bid to position her party in the political centre ground and take a strong stance on Brexit may be paying dividends.

If that is true, May, emboldened by a large and pliant Tory party in the Commons, will do much as she pleases on everything from Brexit to immigration and foreign students - all worrying indicators for Indians and Indian corporates. The huge majority she covets will free her from worrying about how to sell the Brexit deal she gets to Parliament, as well as allowing her to implement whatever domestic policies she chooses. The risk is voter apathy, with Britons facing a fourth major vote in as many years.

Ian Lavery, Labour's national campaigns coordinator, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it had been "a particularly difficult" set of elections for his party, which had suffered from the collapse of the Ukip vote.

At latest count across the 23 English and Welsh counties that had fully declared results, the Tories had control of 10 authorities and 561 seats, a net gain of 155, while Labour had control of five authorities and 404 seats, a net loss of 125. Ukip results resemble a auto crash.

A majority of Labour supporters want Jeremy Corbyn to quit immediately if he loses the general election, an exclusive poll for The Independent has revealed. The SNP also lost control of the city of Dundee, one of the few places that backed breaking away from the United Kingdom in a 2014 plebiscite. "The only party strong enough to lead this fight back is the Scottish Conservative Party".

In reponse to the local election results the PM said she was still "taking nothing for granted" in the upcoming general election.

Alan Rhodes, who was the Labor leader of Nottinghamshire county council but is now leader of the opposition group, admitted that his party was "in a hard place at the moment".

The Conservatives also did well in the vote for six metropolitan area mayors.

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Losing seats to Tories was "a price Ukip is prepared to pay" for the prize of leaving the European Union, he said.

Meanwhile UKIP had only one seat, a net loss of 109, falling "victim to its own success", according to party leader Paul Nuttall.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell also acknowledged that Labour had suffered a "tough" night, but insisted the results were not "the wipeout that some people expected".

This year could be different: The local election is a harbinger of how the United Kingdom wants its government to negotiate Brexit with the EU.

"When I knock on doors I tell people they can vote for me if they like me and not have any fear of Jeremy becoming prime minister - because there is absolutely no chance of that" said one.

But defence secretary Michael Fallon said Tories were winning over voters from all the other parties. Speaking after a visit to a factory in Brentford, west London, where the Tories are hoping to overturn a Labor majority of just 465, the prime minister said: "The reality is that, despite the evident will of the British people, we have bureaucrats in Europe who are questioning our resolve to get the right deal".

That vote is now moving to Conservatives, who are in power and are strongly in favor of securing the UK's exit from the EU.

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