Ukip a victim of its own success, says leader Paul Nuttall

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However, the 11 Conservatives will probably have to be content with life in opposition, as Labour, with 26 seats, are just two short of a majority, and will have a number of options should they choose to do a deal with another party.

Britain's Conservative Party made strong gains in local elections on Friday, suggesting Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy is winning over voters who should hand her an easy victory in a parliamentary poll next month.

And UKIP's four county councillors have also lost their seats.

At 6.00am, the Tories had control of 10 authorities and 523 seats, a net gain of 138 while Labour had control of two authorities and 349 seats, a net loss of 121.

And in Wales, where again there were predictions of a wipeout, and where Theresa May went down to campaign in Newport, we held on to Newport.

The local elections on Thursday were widely seen as a sign of things to come in the snap general election on June 8, announced by the British Prime Minister last month.

This election uses the Supplementary Voting System, which gives electors the opportunity to cast their vote for their first and second choice candidates, with more than 50 per cent of the vote needed to win before second choices are taken into account.

Many UKIP voters appear to have switched allegiance to the Conservative Party, which has adopted an increasingly hardline approach to Britain's exit from the European Union.

Independent councillor Phil Gomm, who returned to his former party UKIP to contest his Aylesbury East seat, also lost out to Julie Ward of the Conservatives.

Polling Station at Jubilee Hall in Eaton Socon
Polling Station at Jubilee Hall in Eaton Socon

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, told the BBC: "The Conservatives are way ahead of Labour nationally".

Labour has played down its losses, with Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying that "it hasn't been the wipe-out that some people predicted or the polls predicted".

Labour lost control of Blaenau Gwent and Bridgend.

Her party will not seek to form a coalition to try to gain overall control of the council, she added, and will form an administration without holding an overall majority.

Nearly 5,000 seats on city, county and town councils were up for grabs in Thursday's elections, with the results predicted to be an indicator for June 8 when the snap general election for the 650 parliamentary seats takes place.

Although they defeated the Tory leader in Somerset, they failed to prevent the Conservatives from retaining control of the council.

Welsh Labor MP Stephen Kinnock, son of former Labor leader Neil Kinnock, described the early results as a pretty disastrous picture for the Labor Party.

A cheery Jeremy Corbyn emerged in front of the cameras today as his Labour Party woke up to huge losses in the local elections.

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