UK Conservatives' power base bolstered in local elections

If that is true, May, emboldened by a large and pliant Tory party in the Commons, will do much as she pleases on everything from Brexit to immigration and foreign students - all worrying indicators for Indians and Indian corporates.

(John Linton/PA via AP).

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.

At Conservatives taking 50% of UKIP's votes, Labour would be set to lose around 36 seats due to this effect alone.

But he added that the opposition typically performs better in local elections: "So none of that augurs well for the Labour Party".

"We cant assume that what happens in local elections will automatically be replicated in general elections", said Tory minister Brandon Lewis.

Another told me: "My campaign literature makes it absolutely clear that I do not take instructions from the leadership".

May caught her political rivals and investors unawares last month when she called the election, saying she wanted strong backing from voters before she launches into tough negotiations with the European Union about Britain's departure from the bloc. Across the country, things were falling apart for Labour, but in Doncaster they actually gained two seats on the council.

Independents in Ashfield, Kirkby and Sutton have stunned Nottinghamshire County Council by gaining six County Council seats. And Labour's loss of Glasgow is not only a major psychological blow to the party, but a sign that its recovery in Scotland has a long way to go.

As expected, Labour won mayoral races in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle, but they were beaten in the West Midlands race, centred on Birmingham.

Mr Corbyn, whose leadership had been widely criticised from within the Labour ranks, described the results as "mixed" and claimed the party was "closing the gap" on the Conservatives.

Labour lost 320 to end up with 1,151 - prompting leader Jeremy Corbyn to acknowledge that winning next month's general election would be a "challenge on a historic scale".

The Liberal Democrats saw their share of the vote recover to about 18 per cent, but failed to make the breakthrough they hoped for in terms of seats.

Since then it has suffered something of an identity crisis post-referendum, with voters clearly struggling to see a objective for Ukip after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

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.

"We have got what we wanted, but unfortunately we have been in a sense the victims of our own success", UKIP deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans told Sky News.