British PM avoids London wipeout in local elections


Despite mounting troubles over Britain's withdrawal from the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative Party emerged relatively unscathed from local elections, according to results released on Friday.

The second Tory candidate, Martin Clarke, lost to Labour's Antonia Berelson (Lab) by just nine votes.

Theresa May's party appeared to have benefited from an nearly total collapse in the Ukip vote, which saw the Eurosceptic party shed councillors across the country.

The United Kingdom's Labour Party sustained significant loses in a local council election in one of the United Kingdom's most heavily populated Jewish districts amid ongoing allegations of anti-Semitism against its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and within the party.

Labour did achieve a swing towards the party in the capital, but not enough to inflict heavy losses on the Conservatives.

But it failed to gain any London boroughs from the Tories despite a concerted campaign in the capital.

Next year the whole council is up for election because of boundary changes, and the results will be fascinating to watch.

There was a similar picture in the Kersal ward in Salford - another strongly Jewish area - where the Conservatives took the seat from the Labour incumbent. More than 4,000 seats were contested.

"It wasn't because they disagreed with our manifesto, but because they felt the Labour party has failed to deal with antisemitism on a national level".

On a victory tour in London, May said Labour "threw everything at it, but they failed", while adding: "We won't take anything for granted".

Mr Corbyn's party lost Nuneaton and Bedworth - an area that often indicates the colour of the government at general elections - as well as Derby and fell short of gaining control in areas like Swindon, Dudley and Walsall, where they had hoped to establish middle England strongholds.

The Conservatives also remain the largest party on Havant Borough Council, with an increased majority after gaining two seats from UKIP.

I think we have a broad representation across Oxford and do understand the issues across the city.

Outside London, the Conservatives regained control of councils in the pro-Brexit regions of Peterborough and Basildon, largely at the expense of the anti-EU UK Independence Party.

The Conservatives held Kensington and Chelsea, where the council had faced severe criticism over last year's devastating Grenfell Tower fire that killed 71 people, with a slightly reduced majority. They also took Three Rivers in Hertfordshire from no overall control.

Perhaps more important for the future will be the areas that voted more narrowly to Leave the European Union - within a 50-55% margin - such as Colchester, Southampton and Worcester.

The Lib Dems also won neighbouring Kingston upon Thames from the Conservatives.

"The first thing we've learned is we need to manage expectations a bit better in the Labour party".

He said that if Labour's Brexit tests were to mean anything the party could not support May's strategy.

"In terms of delivering Brexit, we are still there and if the Tories were seen to indulge in the wholesale betrayal of Brexit, then even losing a few points to us in a tight race between the Conservatives and Jeremy Corbyn would be devastating to the Conservatives looking towards the next General Election".