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14 May 2017, 01:20 | Hilda Schwartz
The Conservatives effectively obliterated Ukip - which won just one seat and lost more than 100 - as voters who had deserted the Tories for Ukip returned in their droves.
A number of high profile figures lost their seats, including Labour group leader June Tandy and chairman of the Labour group on the council, Phil Johnson.
Local elections have seen setbacks for Labour and a collapse in the Ukip vote, with supporters of the Eurosceptic party apparently switching in droves to the Conservatives. The UKIP suffered a huge defeat - losing 145 seats and winning only one - virtually wiping them out. The party courted controversy during its campaign with suggestions it would ban the burka, a covering worn by some Muslim women.
The local election on Thursday was to elect mayor of six new city regions, as well as around 4,800 seats on 88 local councils in Scotland, Wales and England.
May is asking voters to strengthen her hand as she seeks a mandate for her plan to implement the result of last year's Brexit referendum by quitting the EU's single market.
For Ukip, it was an unqualified disaster, which could herald the end of the anti-EU party, which now has no MPs and a handful of councillors and will have no MEPs after Brexit.
Tories were celebrating historic gains across the country, picking up more than 450 councillors and gaining control of 10 authorities as they made deep inroads into parts of Scotland and Wales which had been no-go areas for a generation.
The results come despite a surge in the polls for Labour ahead of the General Election.
Speaking outside her Downing Street office on Wednesday, Mrs May accused Brussels of toughening its stance in statements "deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election".
It became clear early on that the Conservatives were set to be the big winners in the local elections.
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The Liberal Democrats performance was mixed, coming away with 273 council seats - down 26 overall.
Early results from the local elections, which voters often use to punish the ruling party, showed May's Conservatives had instead gained more than 200 council seats and won a mayoral election in the West of England.
'We know this is no small task, it is a challenge on an historic scale.
Crucially, Labour held all of their seven county seats in Gedling - which the Conservatives had targeted as key to securing a majority.
But he also admitted Labour needs to be more effective at cutting through the press in the build up to the general election. We lost seats but we are closing the gap on the Conservatives.
May's party replaced Labour as the largest group in Nottinghamshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Northumberland and Derbyshire.
Labour played down its losses.
"The reality is that today, despite the evident will of the British people, we have bureaucrats in Europe who are questioning our resolve to get the right deal".
Losing seats to Tories was "a price Ukip is prepared to pay" for the prize of leaving the European Union, he added.
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