LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives secured big wins Friday in local elections, a month ahead of a Brexit-dominated snap general election.
Final results showed the centre-right party gaining ground across the country, with the main opposition Labour party taking a hammering and Brexit cheerleaders UKIP all but wiped out as the Conservatives gobbled up their vote.
With the results in from all 88 local authorities being contested, the Conservatives won 1,900 seats, up 558; Labour won 1,151, down 320; and the pro-EU Liberal Democrats won 441, down 37.
The United Kingdom Independence Party won one new seat, and lost all 114 they were defending.
The Scottish National Party, who are seeking another referendum on independence on the back of Brexit, won 431 seats, up 31.
However, within Scotland, the Conservatives had the biggest gains, up 164 seats to 276.
Jeremy Corbyn admitted his Labour party now faces a challenge on a “historic scale” if it is to win the June 8 general election.
“I am disappointed at every Labour defeat in the local elections. Too many fantastic councillors, who work tirelessly for their communities, lost their seats.
“We have five weeks to win the general election so we can fundamentally transform Britain.
“We know this is no small task — it is a challenge on an historic scale. But we, the whole Labour movement and the British people, can’t afford not to seize our moment.”