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Boost for may as Labour and Ukip lose in UK local elections

Staff Writer |
Theresa May's hopes of a UK general election victory on June 8 were boosted after local contests showed Labour suffering losses and the Ukip vote collapsing.

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The Conservatives won the West of England metro-mayor contest and gained control of five councils on an encouraging night for the prime minister.

Labour's election co-ordinator Andrew Gwynne acknowledged there were "challenges" for his party as it struggled in some of its Welsh heartlands and failed to resist Tory advances in England.

Ukip suffered significant reverses, with voters switching to the Tories in a pattern which could provide a major boost to Mrs May as she hopes to strengthen her grip on power next month.

The Liberal Democrats were having a mixed election, failing to breakthrough against the Tories in the south-west England battleground.

Labour was dealt a severe blow in the south Wales valleys, with independents taking control of Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil - where the final three seats will be declared on June 8 with Labour needing to win them all to regain a majority.

In Bridgend - the stronghold of First Minister and Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones - the party lost control.

May had targeted Bridgend with a campaign visit in an effort to boost the Tory presence in Wales.

Things could get worse for Labour when counting begins in Scotland, with experts forecasting heavy losses for Corbyn's party.

Shadow cabinet minister Barry Gardiner said it had been a "really disappointing night" for Labour but he insisted there were local reasons for some of the losses.


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