Local elections bring cheer for Theresa May

The survey by Opinium put Mrs May's party on 46%, one point down on the previous week, but still 16 points clear of Labour, who were unchanged on 30%.

A majority of Labour supporters want Jeremy Corbyn to quit immediately if he loses the general election, an exclusive poll for The Independent has revealed. We lost seats but we are closing the gap on the Conservatives.

The Tories also retained Essex, Hampshire and Dorset, while Wrexham and Flintshire councils remain without overall control.

The Liberal Democrats were having a mixed election, failing to breakthrough against the Tories in the south-west England battleground.

Some 4,851 council seats in 88 councils are being contested.

A key plank of the Conservatives' general election strategy involves winning votes from Ukip and, on the evidence of Thursday's council elections, that's a winning formula.

"When you look across these results there hasn't been a uniform break to the Tories as was predicted in the national polls".

"... as the local elections showed, they are ... are on course for the type of victory last seen by (Labour's) Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher when they were at their peaks", said Adrian Drummond of pollsters Opinium.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos Mori, told Reuters: "The Conservatives are starting the campaign matching the biggest lead we have ever recorded for them during an election campaign, which was back in 1983 ahead of Thatcher's victory".

Meanwhile, Labour forfeited more than 250 council seats, lost control of Glasgow after 40 years and suffered reverses in Welsh strongholds.

In a statement, Nuttall said his party's candidates had worked hard but there was "nothing they could have done in the face of a big national swing to the Tories", as the Conservatives are also known.

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said voters "are now seeing that what this country needs is a government with a full, working majority to negotiate a good, successful exit from the European Union and to build a stronger, fairer Britain after that". And the party has made unprecedented inroads in Scotland, where it is already the main opposition in Holyrood.

The United Kingdom Independence Party won one new seat, and lost all 114 they were defending.

In Dorset, Conservatives retained control although leader Robert Gold lost his seat to the Liberal Democrats.

"The SNP has won the council elections", Sturgeon said on Friday.

Ukip are now [7.4] to win a seat at the general election.