Deadlock over UK local elections as neither Corbyn or May take a lead

Deadlock over UK local elections as neither Corbyn or May take a lead

Labour and Tory leaders both find reasons to celebrate after mixed results

Heather Stewart and Peter Walker

Theresa May at Election Poll
Theresa May meets party supporters in Dudley, which was held by the Tories. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May both sought to put a brave face on local council results that suggested neither can break the electoral deadlock that delivered a hung parliament last June.

For Labour, setbacks in the Midlands and a failure to live up to sky-high expectations in the capital, where it had set its sights on Wandsworth and Westminster, took the shine off an unexpected victory in Plymouth.

Corbyn told Labour supporters the results showed his party was “ready for a general election whenever it comes” and insisted, “there’s much more to come and it’s going to get even better”.

He added: “Obviously, I am disappointed at any places where we lost a bit of ground, but if you look at the overall picture, Labour gained a lot of seats across the whole country; we gained a lot of votes in places we never had those votes before.”

The Conservatives took control of councils in Basildon and Peterborough, but lost Trafford, in Greater Manchester, and the Mole Valley.

With all but one of the 150 councils – Tower Hamlets – having declared on Friday night, Labour controlled 73 councils – down one – and the Conservatives controlled 46 – down two. The parties held 2,308 and 1,230 seats respectively.

The Liberal Democrats now control nine councils, up four, with 536 seats – a gain of 77. The Greens increased their share by eight seats to 39, while UKIP were the big losers, dropping 57 seats to hold just three. The far-right BNP were wiped out altogether.

The BBC’s projected national share of the vote, which uses the results in local elections to estimate the parties’ standing across the country, put Labour and the Conservatives neck-and-neck on 35% apiece.

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