British PM avoids London wipeout in local elections

A Conservative campaigner goes door to door in London

A Conservative campaigner goes door to door in London Toby Melville Reuters

Labour risks being shut out of government for nearly a decade if it continues to be seen as "too Remain", an ally of Jeremy Corbyn has said, as a pro-Europe former minister warned that the party must "heed the warning" from the local elections.

Labour had entered the election with high hopes of victories in the capital, but in Barnet, there was clear evidence of voters from the area's large Jewish community turning their backs on the party after it became embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism.

The Tories held on to Hillingdon and Labour fell well short of the upsets some had predicted in the Conservative strongholds of Wandsworth, Westminster and Kensington.

The Conservatives gained the London council of Barnet from no overall control and held their flagship London councils of Westminster and Wandsworth.

The Conservatives' worst fears failed to materialise as they avoided a rout in London, and gained Basildon, Peterborough and Redditch as they benefited from Ukip's collapse.

Cannock Chase Council leader George Adamson said he was pleased with Labour's performance in the district, which saw the party finish with a majority of one.

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He praised Jeremy Corbyn for "bringing more young people into the party" and acknowledged he fought "a much better campaign than we thought he would".

"We were defending seats that were last won in 2014, which was a particularly good year for Labour in local government".

Pollsters worked out that if the results of the local elections were applied to a national general election each of the two main parties would gain a 35 percent share of the vote.

Despite mounting troubles over Britain's withdrawal from the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative Party emerged relatively unscathed from local elections, according to results released on Friday.

A Survation poll on Wednesday in London showed Labour 20 percentage points ahead of the Conservatives. Dealing with antisemitism, Islamophobia and all forms of hate is not about whether we win or lose elections.

"I'm getting a lot of very talented new members with a lot of experience working in the community and I'm optimistic we will bond together to make a strong political group for the future". "That should shame us". "This defeat wasn't yours".

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Labour MP Ian Austin told BBC Radio 4's Today he met voters who "are concerned about Jeremy", adding: 'His response to recent events in Salisbury or Syria have not given them much confidence, I think the anti-Semitism crisis has made us look like a nasty party they don't want to vote for'.

The big winners though, were the Liberal Democrats, winning 75 seats and taking control of multiple significant councils, including Kingston Upon Thames and Richmond Upon Thames which they took back from the Tories. We have a great relationship with those two councillors and they have supported us over the last 12 months.

Labour sources described their results as "solid", saying that the party had consolidated advances made at last year's general election.

"The first thing we've learned is we need to manage expectations a bit better in the Labour party".

The Liberal Democrats are, once again, the protest vote.

Ukip suffered a bloodbath, with dozens of councillors culled and its own general secretary comparing the party with the Black Death.

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