Britain’s leading Conservative Party has lost ground in local elections to Labour and other parties in early results from across England.
As a limited number of the 146 councils declared results before dawn, the Conservatives lost dozens of council seats to hold 293 out of a total 4,350 seats in England.
The Labour Party has won 553 seats and the Liberal Democrats 119 so far, according to the early unofficial results, whereas the Conservatives lost 62 of previously held seats.
The Conservatives have won 15 councils so far, Labour 19, and the Liberal Democrats two.
The full results are expected around lunchtime.
A total of 4,350 seats in 140 councils across England are being contested in the election while all seats of Scotland’s 32 and Wales’ 22 councils are up for grabs.
Northern Irish voters have voted to fill their 90-seat local parliament.
In Scotland and Wales, the counts will begin Friday, and the earliest results are expected in the afternoon, with more results in the evening.
The count in Northern Ireland will also start at 9 a.m. on Friday and first results are expected around lunchtime.
The overall vote across the UK will show whether the leading Conservative Party has lost public support due to illegal lockdown parties and some other general problems, including the cost of living crisis.
A poor result for the Tories might prompt a leadership contest to replace Boris Johnson as the party leader and prime minister.
Scotland’s results are expected to show support for a second independence referendum, which the leader of the biggest party, the Scottish National Party (SNP), has promised to hold by the end of 2023.
In Northern Ireland, the nationalist Sinn Fein party is projected to come out as the biggest party for the first time, leaving behind the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a result that may see months of uncertainty for the fragile political system in the country.
The total vote that Sinn Fein receives will also be indicative for taking steps for a unified Ireland.
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