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Labour Party Suffers Crushing Defeat After Local Elections, Jeremy Corbyn Unperturbed
08 May 2017, 03:38 | Katrina Lee
GETTYThe Conservative party made staggering gains in Thursday's local elections
Mr Corbyn described the results as "mixed" and insisted they were "closing the gap" on the Conservatives, but acknowledged they faced a huge challenge.
Theresa May is headed for a commanding lead in Parliament, possibly with the largest majority of any Conservative government since the 1980s, if not before.
In total, 35 English council elections - a lot of them county councils - and every seat in Scotland and Wales were up for grabs.
The leader's allies desperately tried to explain the mauling, but it marks a horrendous opening to a general election campaign which will see voters go to the polls in just over a month. Nationalist party Plaid Cymru gained 33 seats for a total of 202 with control of one council.
Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips, reporting from Westminster, said it was striking that the Conservatives had made gains in Scotland, pushing Labour - once the dominant political force in Scotland - into third place, behind the Scottish National Party and the Conservatives. Ukip results resemble a auto crash.
And they only lost out on Northumberland County Council because of drawing straws.
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"And the reality is that only a General Election vote for the Conservatives in 34 days' time will strengthen my hand to get the best deal for Britain from Brexit".
The favorable results for the Conservatives echoed May's call to the public to give her party the majority ahead of Brexit talks.
GETTYThis points to a massive majority for Theresa May in next month's General Election
May's decision to call an early general election ensured her own record and Brexit would be on voters' minds when they went to the polls on Thursday to choose almost 5,000 new local councillors.
The party's vote was squeezed in Brexit-supporting parts of the country, limiting gains.
Alan Rhodes, who was the Labor leader of Nottinghamshire county council but is now leader of the opposition group, admitted that his party was "in a hard place at the moment". "Our electoral success over recent years was a key driver in forcing the Conservatives to embrace our cause under a new Prime Minister who was campaigning for a Remain vote in the referendum a year ago".
Nuttall claimed that, if his party's hammering was down to a Tory advance driven by May's determination to leave the European Union, then it was a price he was "prepared to pay". It often does better when the local election is held at the same time as the general election, but not this much better.
The opposition Labour Party also played down its losses, with Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell saying that it was not "the wipe-out that some people predicted or the polls predicted".
Mr Lavery also admitted some voters were rejecting Mr Corbyn in conversations with Labour activists, even as he insisted "not all of them have been negative".
But defence secretary Michael Fallon said Tories were winning over voters from all the other parties.
'But we, the whole Labour movement and the British people, can't afford not to seize our moment'.
The smaller, centrist Liberal Democrats, who had been hoping to soak up anti-Brexit votes with their pro-EU stance, failed to make their hoped-for gains, losing 37 seats to end up with 441.
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