Thursday 27 October 2016

UK's Labour Party losing ground in local and regional elections

Cathal McMahon

Published 06/05/2016 | 06:49

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

The UK Labour party has suffered heavy defeats in Scotland and setbacks in Wales and England, pointing to a dip in support that could challenge the authority of the party's leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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The Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has declared that her party has won a "historic" victory in the Holyrood election with the Conservatives expected to the lead the opposition.

Labour looks set to slump to third place in the the Scottish Parliament polls - losing more than nine points in its share of the vote.

It is unclear if the SNP, who pulled off a clean sweep of seats in its one-time stronghold of Glasgow, will reach the 65 seats necessary to win a majority in the 129-seat parliament.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

In Wales, Labour also suffered losses including thetotemic Rhondda seat in the Welsh Assembly to Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.

While Labour held on to two safe seats in Westminster by-elections and losses in English councils were less deep than some predicted, frustrations with Mr Corbyn's leadership bubbled to the surface.

Backbench MP Neil Coyle warned the party was "moving away from government" under the veteran left-winger, while the leader of the Labour group on Portsmouth Council, John Ferret, denounced him on BBC Radio as "incompetent" and "incapable of giving the leadership we need".

Bassetlaw MP John Mann said third place in Scotland would be "cataclysmic" for Labour.

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