The electoral consequences of implementing austerity are becoming apparent to the Conservative party this morning after it received a pistol-whipping in local elections across the UK.
Elections have taken place across the country although counting in Scotland only began at 09:00. In the closely watched London Mayoral elections, counting was also due to start this morning but was delayed by a power cut - on the basis of polls yesterday London could be the Tories' main bright spot with Boris Johnson expected to beat the challenge of Ken Livingstone.
In the results available so far, the share of the vote in England was split Labour: 39%, Conservative: 31%, Lib Dems: 16%. Other parties took the remaining 14%, with the anti-EU UK Independence party taking a record 13% of the vote in the areas where they stood.
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David Cameron's Tories have lost nine councils with four (Great Yarmouth, Dudley, Plymouth and Harlow) falling directly under the control of Labour.
In England Labour gained a total of 22 councils, while holding the 28 they already controlled, in Wales the party took a further seven.
A further blow for the government was the rejection of a proposal for directly elected mayors in Coventry, Bradford, Nottingham and Manchester.
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