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Theresa May 'taking nothing for granted' despite local election gains

Theresa May is not "taking anything for granted" on June 8 despite nation-wide gains for the Conservatives at the local elections.

The Prime Minister refused to label an increase of more than 550 councillors and the installation of Tory mayors in Labour strongholds a victory - insisting "real" results would be determined at the General Election.

And Mrs May continued to call on voters to give her the strongest hand possible for upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Her comments came as both Labour and Ukip suffered significant losses on Thursday, many of which were capitalised on by the Conservatives.

Jeremy Corbyn said Labour had also made gains across the country, but admitted the party faces a challenge on a "historic scale" to regain power.

Mrs May's party have so far won 11 new councils in England and Wales, with Ukip virtually wiped out after conceding 136 councillors.

Tory Dick Madden celebrates after retaining his Chelmsford Central seat. Credit: PA

Speaking in Brentford, west London, the Prime Minister described country-wide Conservative gains as "encouraging".

"Since I became Prime Minister, I've been determined to make sure that this is a government that works for the whole country and it is encouraging that we have won support across the whole of the UK," she said.

"But I will not take anything for granted and neither will the team I lead because there is too much at stake."

She continued: "This is not about who wins and who loses in the local elections, it's about continuing to fight for the best Brexit deal for families and businesses across the UK."

Key moments from local elections:

  • Conservatives gain more than 550 councillors
  • Labour lose over 300
  • Tory candidates elected mayor in Labour strongholds Tees Valley and West Midlands
  • Ukip virtually wiped out, losing all seats in Essex
  • Liberal Democrats settle for mixed results
Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson celebrates in Edinburgh. Credit: PA

Echoing comments made outside of Downing Street earlier this week which took a swipe at Brussels, Mrs May said she needed the strongest possible mandate to get Britain the best deal from Brexit negotiations.

"The reality is that today, despite the evident will of the British people, we have beaurocrats in Europe questioning our resolve to get the right deal," she said.

Mrs May added: "The reality is that only a General Election vote for the Conservatives in 34 days time will strengthen my hand to get the best deal for Britain from Brexit."

And she played down the indications from opinion polls, insisting that the General Election would have to be won by "real people going out and casting real votes".

Labour lost more than 300 councillors. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn remained upbeat about Labour's performance despite admitting it had some "very disappointing results".

"We have got councillors elected all over the country," he said.

"Everyone predicted we were going to lose in Cardiff, we won. Everyone said the same with Swansea, we increased our majority."

But Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron described the local election results as evidence of Labour's "implosion" as the main opposition.

Jeremy Corbyn said the party had some 'very disappointing' results.

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell admitted it had been a "tough night" for his party - struggling in some of its Welsh heartlands and failing to resist Tory advances in England.

In a rare high point, Andy Burnham was elected mayor of Greater Manchester.

The Conservatives won the West of England and West Midlands metro-mayor contests, and gained control of 11 councils, including Warwickshire, Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire.

Ukip Deputy Chair Suzanne Evans insisted her party's job is not "done" despite being virtually wiped out.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems, who had mixed results, said the outcome reflected the Labour Party's continuing "implosion" as the main opposition.

Labour's Andy Burnham was elected Greater Manchester mayor. Credit: PA

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