Local elections: neither Corbyn nor May able to break poll deadlock

 Theresa May meets party supporters in Dudley, which was held by the Tories.

Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May both sought to put a brave face on local council results that suggested neither can break the electoral deadlock that delivered a hung parliament last June.

For Labour, setbacks in the Midlands and a failure to live up to sky-high expectations in the capital, where it had set its sights on Wandsworth and Westminster, took the shine off an unexpected victory in Plymouth.

Corbyn told Labour supporters the results showed his party was “ready for a general election whenever it comes”, and insisted, “there’s much more to come and it’s going to get even better”.

He added: “Obviously, I am disappointed at any places where we lost a bit of ground, but if you look at the overall picture, Labour gained a lot of seats across the whole country, we gained a lot of votes in places we never had those votes before.”

The Conservatives took control of councils in Basildon and Peterborough; but lost Trafford, in Greater Manchester, and the Mole Valley.

The BBC’s projected national share of the vote, which uses the results in local elections to estimate the parties’ standing across the country, put Labour and the Conservatives neck-and-neck, on 35% apiece.

Quick guide

Local elections: the night at a glance

Show Hide Status quo prevails on night of no real victors

By early morning Labour had gained seats but failed to make the advances it had hoped for in London. The Conservatives lost seats but were relieved to cling on to key councils. Brandon Lewis, the Conservative party chairman, said his party had a “reasonable night, a good night”. Jeremy Corbyn celebrated seizing Plymouth council and said he was “delighted” by the result. One pollster estimated that a general election matching these results would see Labour with a similar number of seats to the 262 it scored in 2017, while the Tories would lose 12.

Tories lose control of Trafford stronghold

Surprise success for two Green candidates against Conservative incumbents helped Labour become the biggest party in the Manchester council, one of its biggest successes of the night. “I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Andrew Western, the leader of the Labour group on Trafford council. “This is far beyond our expectations.”

Labour’s Barnet defeat blamed on antisemitism row

Hoping for a 1.6% swing and one additional seat to win Barnet from no overall control, Labour instead saw the council move into the Conservative column. Party activists in the area – which has a significant Jewish population – blamed the antisemitism row that has engulfed the capital. Defeated Labour councillor Adam Langleben called for Jeremy Corbyn to apologise to Jewish activists, adding: “We as Jewish Labour activists were told we were endorsing anti-semitism.”

Modest success for Lib Dems in remain areas

The party celebrated as it took control of Richmond by gaining 22 seats and had some other good results. Ed Davey, the party’s home affairs spokesman, said: “It’s building a hugely important platform for future victories.” But elsewhere Vince Cable’s party showed no signs of enjoying the sort of recovery that would see it turn into a strong force at Westminster.

Catastrophic night for ‘Black Death’ Ukip

Ukip’s vote collapsed and by Friday morning it held just two seats, 44 down on four years ago. General secretary Paul Oakley tried to put a brave face on things by comparing the party to the Black Death. “It’s not all over at all,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “Think of the Black Death in the Middle Ages. It comes along and it causes disruption and then it goes dormant, and that’s exactly what we are going to do. Our time isn’t finished because Brexit is being betrayed.” Dan Sabbagh and Andrew Sparrow

Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Was this helpful? Thank you for your feedback.

The prime minister toured areas where the Conservatives had made gains – or seen off Labour’s advance. Greeted by cheering supporters in Wandsworth, she said: “Labour thought they could…

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