May’s Conservatives gain seats in British local elections

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives gained seats in Friday’s early results from local elections in Britain, while Labour, the UK Independence Party and the Liberal Democrats all lost seats.

After declarations from around 1,000 of the nearly 5,000 seats in Thursday’s elections, the Conservatives had gained more than 100, Labour had lost about 60 and UKIP had lost all of the 30 seats it held at the previous elections.

Turnout dipped below 30 per cent in some of the polls, which followed last year’s Brexit referendum and a general election in 2015, and will be followed by another general election on June 8.

Polls were held for 88 of the 418 local councils in Britain as analysts watched for clues on how the country could vote in the general election.

Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, a former business secretary in a coalition government with the Conservatives, told the BBC the Conservatives were profiting from “taking on board the agenda as well as the former voters of UKIP.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Defence Minister Michael Fallon said the early results were encouraging but voiced concern that the Conservatives could have “peaked too soon” for the general election.

Political analysts cautioned that big gains in the local elections would not necessarily herald the large parliamentary majority that May hopes to win in the general election.

May has asked voters to back her “strong and stable” leadership of the country and her plans for Brexit negotiations with EU leaders.NAN

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