Corbyn hits the ground running after Tories pick up hundreds of council seats
JEREMY CORBYN is hitting the ground running with his election campaign, despite setbacks for his party in Thursday’s local elections.
Undeterred by the results, the Labour leader will be in Leicester today setting out his strategy for the coming weeks until the general election on June 8.
The Conservatives, at the time of the Star going to print, had picked up 11 new councils and 520 councillors fuelled by the mass exodus of voters from Ukip to the Tories.
Meanwhile, Labour lost more than 289 seats and its majority on Glasgow City Council for the first time in 40 years as well as suffering reverses in Welsh strongholds to the Tories.
Ukip lost every seat it was defending while gaining one councillor in Lancashire with previous Ukip voters choosing to side with the Tories. The turnout percentage was not revealed yesterday.
Speaking to Labour supporters in Liverpool, Mr Corbyn said: “We’ve had some difficult results overnight. Some have been very good.
“We’ve gained seats in some places, we’ve held councils that many predicted we wouldn’t.”
The Labour leader added that it is now crucial to get the party’s “message out there” with just three weeks to go until the election.
“Pensioners do not have to live in fear of their pensions being cut in the future because the government will not protect the triple-lock.
“People don’t have to be living on appalling wages, through zero-hours contracts or minimum wage only. Labour will change all of that.”
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell also acknowledged that Labour had suffered a “tough” night, but insisted the results were not “the wipeout that some people expected.”
There was still “all to play for” in the election in just five weeks’ time, he said.
Mr McDonnell added that Labour’s vote “held up” in areas of Wales where Mr Corbyn had campaigned with signs that voters were developing more confidence in him after he’d been given the chance to get his message across.
The shadow chancellor called again for “robotic” PM Theresa May to take part in TV debates, and compared her stiff style to Labour’s “open and engaging” campaign.
In reponse to the local election results the PM said she was still “taking nothing for granted” in the upcoming general election.
Sir Michael Fallon said Conservatives were winning votes from people who believed Ms May was best to be in power while Brexit talks went on.
Liberal Democrats had a poor election, failing to break through against the Tories in south-west England.
At the time the Star went to print, Lib Dems had 402 councillors, a net loss of 28; the Scottish National Party had 365, adding 31; Plaid Cymru was on 202, a net gain of 26 and the Greens were on 40, a net gain of six.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron claimed that strong performances in target areas like St Albans — where he addressed activists — meant his party was on track to more than double its presence of nine MPs at Westminster.
A BBC projection of the overall national vote share put Conservatives on 38 per cent (up 13 points since 2013), Labour 27 per cent (down two), Liberal Democrats 18 per cent (up four) and Ukip 5 per cent (down 18).