Theresa May survives local election test as UKIP collapses

Theresa May survives local election test as UKIP collapses

Labour also gained Plymouth, taking control from the Conservatives, but Mr Corbyn will come under pressure over disappointing results in the Midlands, with his party losing control of Derby and Nuneaton and Bedworth. The party failed to take control of town halls it had targeted in Swindon and Walsall and said it was unlikely to seize Wandsworth or Westminster from the Tories.

"It's certainly a poor night in terms of the Labour Party outside London".

Labour sources said they were hopeful of making progress overall but were "realistic" about the outcome after starting from a high base in 2014.

Conservatives made early gains in English local elections as the shadow chancellor predicted a mixed night for Labour.

"There, at the moment, isn't really very much for the Labour Party to crow basically has come away frankly empty-handed relative to the expectation that it at least helped to build up", Curtice said.

A London borough which Labour has never won since its creation in 1974, Barnet is a big target this time around.

Meanwhile, Dudley remained in no overall control but the council's Tory leader was confident a UKIP councillor and independent Conservative would join their group to hand them effective control.

Support for Ukip has collapsed with the party winning just two seats almost seven hours into counting.

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The Liberal Democrats also enjoyed a good night, increasing their number of councillors from five to six.

Results showed May was likely to avoid the kind of widespread losses that would dramatically weaken her authority over Conservative lawmakers ahead of key tests of her plans to pull out of the EU customs union.

About 4,000 seats on 150 councils were up for grabs, including in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.

Watford, Hackney, Newham, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets will elect mayors while the first-ever mayor for the Sheffield City Region will also be chosen.

He told BBC News: "Four years ago I was looking at a Conservative vote of 30% in the polls and today I expect Theresa May will be looking at significantly more than that, I imagine in the upper 30s, maybe near 40".

"In part that is the result of the UKIP vote collapse and the Conservatives are advancing most strongly in Leave areas where Ukip were previously strongest".

And there was anger in areas trialling controversial ID cards, with some people saying they were unable to cast their ballot.

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