Date: May 05 2012
BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party lost scores of local government seats to the opposition Labour Party in the worst result since the coalition government took office two years ago.
As counting of 181 local council election results in England, Scotland and Wales continued overnight, the Tories had lost more than 320 seats and the Lib Dems 160, according to a tally by the BBC.
Labour had gained nearly 550 seats and regained control of the local government in Birmingham, Britain's second-largest city, after eight years.
Extrapolated nationally, the results gave Labour a projected lead over the Tories of 38 per cent to 31 per cent, the BBC said.
Mr Cameron has faced a backlash over the March 21 budget that raided charities and pensioners to help fund an income tax cut for the rich, and the economy has slipped back into recession.
The count in the highest-profile contest, for mayor of London, continued last night. The Conservative mayor, Boris Johnson, extended his lead over Ken Livingstone, the former mayor who is running for Labour, in a break with the national trend.
A YouGov poll suggested that a surprising two in 10 Labour voters intended to reject Mr Livingstone. The Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg faced the prospect of seeing the party's once mighty local government base shrink to its lowest figure for two decades after voters abandoned the party.
Amid fears that the Liberal Democrats would be left with fewer than 3000 councillors, Mr Clegg was planning to use the next five days for a succession of media appearances to restate the reasons the party is in coalition.
Mr Clegg's immediate task, officials say, is to persuade his membership that a second successive year of reverses in local elections does not foreshadow inevitable electoral wipeout in 2015.
Labour leader Ed Miliband is hoping strong results in the London assembly elections will deflect criticism of his party's performance in the capital.
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