We are closing the gap on the Tories - Corbyn on Labour's results

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"I am disappointed at every Labour defeat in the local elections".

"When I knock on doors I tell people they can vote for me if they like me and not have any fear of Jeremy becoming prime minister - because there is absolutely no chance of that" said one.

Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell acknowledged Friday that Labour had suffered a "tough" night, but told ITV that the results were not "the wipeout that people expected" and insisted it is still "all to play for" in the national vote.

Party leaders will return to the campaign trail amid opposition fears of a Conservative landslide after the Tories made sweeping gains in the local elections.

The results are being described as a bellwether of voting trends for the general election, with Theresa May set to sweep to victory.

While local issues are usually the main influencer in such elections, May's decision last month to call a snap general election ensured her own record and Brexit would be on voters' minds on Thursday.

Ballots were counted Friday from contests for local councils in Scotland, Wales and many parts of England, as well as from mayoral competitions in several cities.

May also said she was not taking anything for granted.

As expected The Conservatives have made gains while nearly all the other parties have lost ground.

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"We will have to wait and see what the final results are? and overall, of course, the turnout is much lower than you get in a general election", said United Kingdom defence secretary Michael Fallon, playing down the Conservative gains earlier today.

Losing seats to Tories was "a price Ukip is prepared to pay" for the prize of leaving the European Union, he added.

The centrist Liberal Democrats — the most firmly pro-EU of Britain's major parties — failed to make the big gains they were hoping for.

The SNP candidate in Ochil and South Perthshire,
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, said: "The reality of results in England is that it shows Ukip have won control of this increasingly hard-right Tory government".

The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, were down by almost 30, while the UK Independence Party (UKIP) had lost all of the 41 seats it held at the previous elections.

The Tories have gained massive ground from the UKIP and Labour but the party has chosen to strike a note of caution to prevent its prospective MPs becoming too complacent in the general election campaign.

The Lib Dems had 441 councillors, a net loss of 37; the Scottish National Party had 431, up 31; Plaid Cymru was on 202, a net gain of 26 and the Greens were on 40, a net gain of six. "But we, the whole Labour movement and the British people, can't afford not to seize our moment", he said in a statement.

Labour emerged seriously diminished, losing five councils and with 133 fewer councillors.

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