Local election results are slowly trickling in, and it seems many voters have taken to the ballot box with the government’s handling of Brexit in mind. Both Labour and the Conservatives are currently haemorrhaging seats, with many voters savaging leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May for the poor handling of Brexit. The Liberal Democrats and independent parties, on the other hand, are enjoying a surge of support as the electorate seeks a new face for British politics.
How many seats did the Tories and Labour lose in the local elections?
The Conservative Party and Labour are suffering in today’s elections, as constituents blame them for the current Brexit deadlock.
The Tories – who previously controlled more than half of the UK’s local councils – have forfeited 606 councillors.
The Labour Party has lost 78 councillors overall, a similar blow to the party which has a much lower local representation.
READ MORE: Who won the local elections?
In the wake of their failure, independent candidates and the Liberal Democrats are enjoying a surge of support.
The Liberal Democrats have gained 389 councillors, and independent candidates have won 288 seats.
The Green Party has gained 71 seats according to results.
Results are a valuable testing ground for the UK’s political parties ahead of the May 23 European elections.
READ MORE: Theresa May HUMILIATED by Brexit backlash
The vote is being used as a protest by many voters who are dissatisfied with the overall handling of Brexit.
Ballots were handed in yesterday with “Brexit” scrawled over the front instead of an indicated vote.
Some people have written protests against Theresa May and scribbled the word “traitor” on their ballot paper next to Labour and Conservative candidates.
Others went so far as to draw their own checkbox with Nigel Farage’s Brexit party.
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Both Conservative and Labour parliamentarians have reacted to the vote, citing a “massive elephant in the room”.
Talking to the BBC, John Curtice, Britain’s leading polling expert said: ”It just seems voters, period, saying: ‘A plague on both your houses’.
“We knew that voters were unhappy with the way that the Conservatives had handled Brexit but looks as though they are also unhappy with Labour’s response to the government’s position on Brexit.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is following the results from Nairobi, said the results were “like a slap in the face for both the main parties.”
Labour MP Owen Smith, who was defeated in his bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn as the party’s leader in 2016, said the Lib Dems are being rewarded for their “clarity”.
He tweeted: “It’s been clear for months that Labour’s Brexit fudge was melting under the public’s gaze.
“We lost votes in every direction last night – because voters don’t reward equivocation.
“But we lost most to Greens and Lib Dem’s – being rewarded for their clarity on Brexit.”