Test for PM as England votes in local elections

Polls closed at 10:00 pm (2100 GMT) on Thursday to elect local councillors, with May's Conservative party braced for defeats in London, a traditional stronghold of the opposition Labour party.

Test for PM as England votes in local elections

World Bulletin / News Desk

Ballots were being counted Friday from local elections in England seen as the first key electoral test for Prime Minster Theresa May since she lost her parliamentary majority last year.

Early results were mixed, with both Conservatives and Labour losing control of key councils, but a clear overall picture was not expected until later Friday, when more results from London's 32 local councils are due.

By around 5:30 am (0430 GMT), with 90 out of 150 council results in, Labour had 20 more seats nationally, the Conservatives eight more, and the centrist Liberal Democrats were up 40, according to the BBC.

The pro-Brexit UK Independence Party had lost 86 seats to have only two, it said.

The elections took place across England, including in cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle, with a total of more than 4,300 seats being contested.

In London, where last year's Grenfell Tower fire disaster in which 71 people were killed is still a fresh memory, some residents said they were using the vote as a proxy poll on Conservative leaders on both local and national levels.

Charity worker Joe Batty, 54, cast his ballot when polls opened in the borough of Islington at 7:00 am (0600 GMT) Thursday.

"The cuts to the local councils, that's come from the central government austerity," he said.

Pensioner Joyce Mason, 79, said cuts to hospital services had weighed on her decision.

"My husband went in hospital the day after Boxing Day -- he was delirious, he was very ill but he was on the trolley from six o'clock in the morning until one o'clock the next morning", she told AFP.

"I know they're under stress, they are under a lot of stress at the moment. But we've never had nothing like this before."

Last Mod: 04 Mayıs 2018, 09:22
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