Theresa May faces Tory anger after disastrous local election results

Prime Minister Theresa May was confronted with anger from her own party after local election results which she admitted were “very difficult” for the Conservatives.

Backbench MPs called for her removal and warned that the party would be “toast” if it did not change direction, and a heckler interrupted the PM as she gave a speech in Wales, saying: “Why don’t you resign? We don’t want you.”

Voters across the country vented frustrations over Brexit on both major parties, with the Liberal Democrats, Greens and independents benefiting from a hammering for both the Tories and Labour.

With around half of results from local elections in England declared, the Conservatives had shed 462 councillors and lost control of 19 authorities, with councils including Chelmsford, Winchester and Bath falling directly into the hands of the Lib Dems.

But Labour was also licking its wounds after forfeiting control in heartland councils like Burnley, Hartlepool and Bolsover.

Despite some predictions that Jeremy Corbyn’s party could pick up three-figure gains, Labour was down 60 seats, though it did have the consolation of restoring control in Trafford for the first time sine 2003.

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(PA Graphics)

Both the Conservative and Labour high commands left no doubt that they saw the results as a demand for resolution of the Brexit impasse three years after the 2016 vote for EU withdrawal.

Mrs May told the Welsh Conservatives in Llangollen: “I think there was a simple message from yesterday’s elections to both us and the Labour Party – ‘Just get on and deliver Brexit’.”

And shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: “So far, message from local elections – ‘Brexit – sort it’. Message received.”

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