Local and mayoral results: Conservatives make gains

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The Conservatives have gained ground in local elections across Britain at the expense of Labour and UKIP.

They have taken control of five councils in England and Wales, such as Lincolnshire and Monmouthshire, and are also making headway in Scotland.

Labour, which has lost overall control of Glasgow council, said its performance was “disappointing” five weeks before the general election.

UKIP has lost all its seats, leading to claims its influence was “at an end”.

Amid contrasting fortunes for the parties in local polls, the Conservatives have attempted to downplay their significance as a guide to the outcome of the general election on 8 June.

When are the results declared?

A total of 4,851 seats are up for grabs in 88 councils – all 32 in Scotland, 22 in Wales and 34 county councils and unitary authorities in England.

So far, 26 councils in England and Wales have announced their final results.

The remainder – including the likes of Lancashire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Norfolk – will declare during Friday morning and afternoon.

Counting in Scotland is also under way. There have been gains for the Conservatives in early results from Edinburgh, Fife and Midlothian.

Labour has also ceded control of Glasgow Council, which has been a municipal stronghold for decades, although it is not clear yet whether the SNP will win enough votes to command a majority.

How have things gone so far?

At 11:00 BST, the Conservatives had control of 10 authorities and 636 seats, a net gain of 179.

Labour, meanwhile, had control of five authorities and 466 seats, a net loss of 137.

The Lib Dems had 167 seats, a net loss of 23. UKIP had failed to win any seats, a net loss of 47, while the Greens had picked up 12, a net gain of seven.

Plaid Cymru, meanwhile, have won 72 seats – a net gain so far of 16.

A good night for the Conservatives

The Conservatives are now in charge of Warwickshire, Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, the Isle of Wight and Monmouthshire, all of which were previously under no overall control.

So far, the party has only lost four seats as it also held onto Dorset, Essex and Somerset among others.

The Conservative candidate for the new “metro mayor” post for the West of England, Tim Bowles, beat Labour’s Lesley Mansell by 51.6% to 48.4%.

John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, said the Conservatives had so far put in their best election performance since at least 2008, with an average swing of seven points from Labour to the Tories since 2013.

He said the Conservatives appeared to have been the main beneficiaries of a sharp decline in support for UKIP.

Conservative defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the outcome was “very encouraging”, but denied the general election was in the bag, saying the results were not an “accurate prediction” of next month’s poll.

Disappointment for Labour

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Labour-controlled councils in England, such as Derbyshire and Durham, have yet to declare – but they will be closely watched as there are already signs of the party losing ground in areas which voted to leave the EU.

It lost ground in Lincolnshire, Cumbria and Warwickshire. Phil Johnson, the party’s general election candidate in Nuneaton, lost his seat on Warwickshire council to the Conservatives.

The performance was labelled “pretty disastrous” by ex-MP Stephen Kinnock, who is standing again in Aberavon.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said this was not the “wipe-out that many commentators were forecasting” and Labour were building a “solid base” for the general election.

But the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the opposition should be “gobbling up” seats rather than trying to “put a rosy picture” on holding onto seats in some of their traditional heartlands.

Analysis: Where the parties stand so far

By Laura Kuenssberg, BBC’s political editor

It’s early, early days. But so far there will be grimaces at Labour HQ, beaming smiles at Tory CCHQ, a slightly frazzled atmosphere at the Lib Dem’s home this morning and well, don’t be surprised if you see Nigel Farage at his favourite boozer by lunchtime.

There are lots and lots of results still to come in. But with a general election only a month away, this barometer of real votes looks grim for the Labour Party.

What’s happened in Wales?

It was a mixed picture for Labour in Wales, where it has been the dominant force in local government for decades.

It lost control of its heartland seat Blaenau Gwent to independents. It also lost Bridgend while the result in Merthyr Tydfil is on a knife-edge as the final three seats will not be declared until 8 June and Labour would have to win them all to retain a majority.

Merthyr Tydfil’s Labour leader Brendan Toomey, among those to lose his seat, said the party was “having a very disappointing evening to say the least”.

Vaughan Gething, a member of the Labour government in Wales, said there was an “awful lot of work” for the party to do before the general election.

He told Radio 4’s Today there had been “mixed messages” on the doorsteps about Jeremy Corbyn but there had also been strong results – with his party “turning back the Tory tide” in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.

UKIP’s ‘challenging night’

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It has been a bleak night so far for UKIP, which has lost all of its 42 seats that have been declared.

In Lincolnshire, where UKIP had 16 councillors elected in 2013 and was the official opposition on the council, the party has lost all of its remaining 13 seats.

It also lost all its seats in Warwickshire, Hampshire, Essex and the Isle of Wight, which were taken by the Conservatives.

Former UKIP leadership contender Steven Woolfe said the party’s influence was “at an end” while its former MP

What about the others?

Lib Dem president Sal Brinton described her party’s performance overall as “patchy”, while former business secretary Vince Cable said there had been no “spectacular breakthrough”.

The Conservatives saw off the Lib Dems’ challenge to hold on to Somerset County Council – although leader John Osman was ousted by Lib Dem former MP Tessa Munt.

In Cumbria, where party leader Tim Farron is hoping to be re-elected as MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, the party failed to increase its representation.

Ex-MP Stephen Williams only came third in the race to be the new metro mayor for the west of England.

The Green Party have gained six seats in England while Plaid Cymru have added eight in Wales. It has also been a good night for those unaffiliated to any political party, with 28 more independents than before.

Still to come… the metro mayors

Along with the West of England, voters in Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City region, the West Midlands, Tees Valley, and Cambridge and Peterborough will also all elect “metro mayors” covering combined local authority areas.

The mayors will mostly be responsible for economic development, but some will have powers over transport and housing.

Former Labour cabinet minister Andy Burnham, who is stepping down as an MP, hopes to become Greater Manchester’s first elected mayor while in the West Midlands, former John Lewis boss Andy Street is running for the Conservatives while Sion Simon hopes to secure the role for Labour.

The West Midlands result is expected at about 15.00 GMT and the Greater Manchester outcome at 18.00 GMT.

Turnout in these elections will be closely watched, amid reports that the number of eligible people voting in Liverpool could be as low at 10%.

In Doncaster and North Tyneside, residents voted for local authority mayors, who are elected leaders of their respective councils.

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