News World Local poll disaster prompts calls for UK PM Theresa May to step down

Local poll disaster prompts calls for UK PM Theresa May to step down

British Prime Minister Theresa May at a polling station in the local council elections on May 2 in Sonning, England. Photo: Getty
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Theresa May’s Conservatives have lost hundreds of seats in British local elections, with fresh calls for the embattled prime minister to step down.

With votes counted for all of the 8000 seats in 248 English councils, the Conservatives had lost 1335 seats while the main opposition party, Labour, had lost 86 seats, according to Sky News.

The Conservatives lost control of 45 councils as the final results came in.

The Press Association called it the worst performance, in raw numbers, by a governing party in local elections since 1995.

The Liberal Democrats were the biggest winners, gaining more than 700 seats by estimate, while independents won more than 800 additional seats.

Many analysts and politicians said uncertainty over Britain leaving the European Union was a major factor in the swing against the two main parties.

There were calls from Conservative MPs for Ms May’s removal as party leader, with senior Brexiteer Sir Bernard Jenkin warning that the party would be “toast” unless it “mends its ways pretty quickly”.

May was heckled giving a speech in Wales, with a man shouting: “Why don’t you resign? We don’t want you.”

At a separate event in Grimsby, one of the few areas in which the Conservatives enjoyed success, Ms May said the election was “always going to be difficult.”

“Because we haven’t delivered the Brexit deal through Parliament yet, this was going to be a particularly challenging set of elections for both of the main parties,” Ms May added.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn left no doubt he saw the results as a demand for resolution of the Brexit impasse three years after the 2016 referendum.

“I think it means there’s a huge impetus on every MP, and they’ve all got that message, whether they themselves are leave or remain – or the people across the country – that an arrangement has to be made, a deal has to be done, parliament has to resolve this issue. I think that is very, very clear,” Mr Corbyn said.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable tweeted that he was travelling to the eastern city of Chelmsford on Saturday (AEST), where his party won control of the city council from the Conservatives.

“In big cities and rural England – in both Leave and Remain areas – we have shown ourselves the strongest campaigning force and the big winners of the night. Three-party politics is back,” Mr Cable said.