UK Conservatives Lose Over 1,200 Local Seats in Local Elections

Small and independent parties won big in local elections in the U.K. on Thursday as the country’s two largest parties suffered decisive defeats. 

The Greens, a left-wing party, posted their biggest gain in years.

“We’ve broken through on to the councils to become the new voice,” party co-leader Siân Berry told The Guardian.

The Liberal Democrats, a centrist party that opposes Brexit, also saw large gains. 

“The Lib Dems were written off at one point but we’re coming back very, very strongly,” said party leader Vince Cable. 

By contrast, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives lost over 1,200 seats and opposition party Labour lost 100. The results were largely interpreted as a rejection of the continuing debate over Brexit as the country delayed its departure from the E.U. for another six months.

British commentators were quick to note the connection between the country’s increasingly dysfunctional national politics and the trickle-down effect to local elections. 

In a column for the BBC, pollster John Curtice said that voters were sending a message to politicians: “A plague on both your houses.”

“That seems to have been the key message to emerge from the ballot boxes,” said Curtice. 

The Guardian editorial board cautioned the two main parties on the future, citing the European Parliamentary elections coming later in the month.

“With European elections impending, there is a lesson for both Labour and the Tories,” said The Guardian. “They cannot easily profit as the Brexit process drifts on and on, but their insurgent rivals might.”

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Tom Newton Dunn, politics editor for The Sun, said in a tweet that the results were “another unwanted record” for May. 

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, in remarks to ITV, said that the results mean the country has to deal with Brexit, one way or another.  

“An arrangement has to be made, a deal has to be done, Parliament has to resolve this issue,” said Corbyn. “I think that is very, very clear.”

May, on the other hand, took the results to mean that the country wants Parliament to “deliver Brexit.”

“How she got that from these results is beyond me,” said Ian Dunt, the editor of politics.co.uk. 

Twitter user @SheRa_Marley, however, had a pretty good idea. 

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