Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

UK Conservatives' power base bolstered in local elections

UK Conservatives' power base bolstered in local elections

Eric Kaufmann, a politics professor at the University of London, said May's Brexit stance seemed to be paying dividends with a realignment towards her party.

Sky News is projecting that Theresa May could win a Commons majority of 48 in the General Election based on an analysis of local election results.

"If we use the analogy of Ukip as a racing vehicle, Nigel (Farage) was a skilled driver who drove the auto around the track faster and faster, knowing when to take risks, delighting the audience", said Mr Banks.

Painting the European Union as a bogeyman and making the election about Brexit has been an effective way to drum up support among vote-weary Britons given that Corbyn is a deeply unpopular political figure.

File- British Prime MinisterTheresa May has stunned the United Kingdom political world by calling for an early general election, seeking a stronger mandate in talks over leaving the European Union.

"In local elections it is always the case that people will vote at constituency level about local issues - and councils have had their hands tied behind their backs in terms of cuts and spending".

Rob Ford, professor of political science at Manchester University, said that while her public spat with Juncker will have helped, the Conservative victory was the result of a long-term hard Brexit strategy that May has been pursuing for almost a year.

The collapse of Ukip, combined with a weaker than expected performance by the Liberal Democrats, will make many Labour seats highly vulnerable to Conservative challengers.

Bradford South has returned Labour MPs since the end of the Second World War, but the Conservatives say their resounding win in the the constituency's Queensbury ward on Thursday night means they have a shot at turning the seat blue on June 8.

A forecast return of voters to the Liberal Democrats failed to materialize, with the party seeing a net loss of 38 seats.

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UKIP lost all but one of the more than 100 council seats it held, as voters switched to the Conservatives now that UKIP's main goal had been achieved.

For the party's leader, Paul Nuttall, UKIP is a "victim of its own success".

"This Brexit negotiation is central to everything", May said after her meeting with Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday, marking the dissolution of Parliament and start of the election campaign.

The Scottish National Party, who are seeking another referendum on independence on the back of Brexit, won 431 seats, up 31.

The party's success in Glasgow forced Labour out of power in the city for the first time in nearly 40 years.

As ballot papers in yesterday's council elections continue to be counted, it is clear the Conservatives have made big gains at the local level in a night that saw Labour take a bruising and Ukip unceremoniously swept out of power across their former heartlands.

Conservatives won the West of England metro mayor contest and topped the first round of voting in the West Midlands, while Labour claimed the mayoralties in Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Doncaster and North Tyneside.

Labour, which has lost control of Glasgow as well as Bridgend and Blaenau Gwent, said it was "disappointing" five weeks before the general election. "We knew it was going to be a hard night".

Elsewhere on Thursday, Dave Rowntree, the drummer from pop group Blur, was elected to Norfolk County Council in eastern England, representing Labour.

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