British PM hails ‘strong’ election, while Labor Party falls short

May 4 (UPI) — Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party failed Friday to make gains in Britain’s local council elections, as Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives held ground.

Vote results Friday revealed — with 137 council results declared — that the Labor Party won 1,917 seats (up 61), while Conservatives, or Tories, won 1,258 (down 15). Lib Dems gained 55, Greens five and the U.K. Independence Party lost 122.

May hailed the Thursday votes as a “strong night” for the Tories while Corbyn said he was “disappointed” after his opposition party failed to take key London boroughs from the ruling Conservatives and suffered losses outside the capital.

The Labor party was unable to seize Barnet, Westminster, Wandsworth or Kensington & Chelsea — longstanding Conservative councils in London that were the target of sustained campaigning by Corbyn supporters.

Labor, however, did win Plymouth from the Conservatives, a win Corbyn thought was a “fantastic result” and “a sign that Labor is back” in parts of Britain.

Corbyn said the Labor Party gained seats and votes across the country “in places we never had before,” and blamed Conservatives for talking “up our chances to unrealistic levels, especially in London.”

Meanwhile, Tories picked up seats outside London, partly by exploiting a collapse in support for the right-wing ailing U.K. Independence Party, which has struggled to stay relevant since the Brexit referendum in 2016.

“Labor thought they could take control, this was one of their top targets and they threw everything at it, but they failed,” May said Friday, adding the Tories “won’t take anything for granted” and would “build on this success for the future.”

The Greens managed to take two seats from Labor in Sheffield and took seats from the Conservatives in the London borough of Richmond-upon-Thames.

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