POLITICS

2012 Local Elections - Cameron "Sorry", Clegg "Sad", Miliband Cautious

04/05/2012 10:28 | Updated 04 May 2012

Ed Miliband has given a cautious welcome to significant gains by Labour in council elections in England and Wales, but has warned the party has "more work to do" if it's going to secure a victory at the next general election.

The party is keeping the champagne firmly on ice because results are still coming in - and the party fears it will lose control of Glasgow council later when results from Scotland begin to emerge.

Labour is also preparing for Ken Livingstone's expected defeat at the hands of Boris Johnson in the London Mayoral election, a result that's expected by early evening.

Miliband told reporters on Friday morning: “We are a party winning back people’s trust, regaining ground, but there’s more work to do.”

With just over half of the council election results in, Labour have gained more than 500 councillors. The party could find itself with more than 700 new wards by the end of the day.

As expected the coalition partners have had a bad night - as of 10am on Friday the Tories had lost nearly 300 seats and the Lib Dems almost 160. Nick Clegg said he was "very sad" at the losses, with the Lib Dem children's minister Sarah Teather saying it was "inevitable" that the Lib Dems would take another pounding at the ballot box. That said, Lib Dems are privately hoping that this year's elections won't be quite as bad for them as last year's.

Speaking on Friday morning David Cameron said he was “sorry for all the hard-working Conservative councillors who lost their seats."

"We need to appeal to people and I would note that in these results... in places like Amber Valley and Derbyshire, we still have a Conservative council. We've got to make sure we demonstrate that we're on the side of people who work hard."

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Among other developments on Friday morning, Labour took the first-ever Liverpool mayoral election by a landslide, but so far all of the cities holding referendums on whether to have an elected mayor have rejected the idea - in another humiliation for David Cameron, who pushed the idea in the first place.

It's wasn't a perfect night for Labour, which had to watch as the Respect party gained five seats on Bradford council - mirroring George Galloway's shock win in the Bradford West by-election two months ago.

The Tories lost control of key battleground councils like Thurrock in Essex - although Tory sources say they are particularly concerned by a surge in support for UKIP in polls there.

Elections

She told the BBC: "Where Ukip is fielding candidates this time that the BNP did last time but they're not this time, I think that will have an impact. There are members of Ukip who are from all sorts of political parties, but it is an interesting mix there in terms of the number of candidates."

Her comments provoked a furious reaction from Ukip party workers, with one senior figure calling her a "bitch" on Twitter before hastily deleting the post.

Later today there will be further council election and Mayoral referendum results - but the big stories will come later in the day from Glasgow council and London.

Labour are not confident of winning either of these polls - Glasgow Council is considered a former Labour stronghold but is at risk of being lost to an SNP surge.

In London Ken Livingstone went into Thursday's poll trailing Tory incumbent Boris Johnson by six points. Most pundits have called the election for Boris - although as a party Labour is expected to do well in the London Assembly elections.

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