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May takes UKIP voters on bord

Great Britain
05.05.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
May gets election boost as Conservatives make gains in local polls
British Prime Minister Theresa May received a boost for her general election campaign on Friday as her Conservatives made strong gains in local elections.
GALLERY
London (dpa) - After results were declared for some 2,000 seats by early afternoon the Conservatives had gained 230 seats, Labour had lost about 110, the Liberal Democrats were down by nearly 30, and the UK Independence Party had lost all of the 41 seats it held at the previous elections.
Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, a former business secretary in a coalition government with the Conservatives, told the BBC the May"s party was profiting from "taking on board the agenda as well as the former voters of UKIP."

If the trend continues, it could put the Conservatives on course to win dozens of parliamentary seats from its biggest rival, Labour, on June 8.

Turnout dipped below 30 per cent in some of the polls, which were held for 88 of Britain‘s 418 local councils.

Low turnout had been expected as the local elections followed last year‘s Brexit referendum and a general election in 2015, with another general election to come just five weeks from now.

Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, a former business secretary in a coalition government with the Conservatives, told the BBC the May‘s party was profiting from "taking on board the agenda as well as the former voters of UKIP."

Political analyst Matthew Goodwin said on Twitter that the results suggested a "dismal night" for Labour, with the "writing on the wall" for expected big losses to the Conservatives for the party in the general election.

Goodwin, an expert on right-wing movements in Britain, said the early results had also confirmed his forecast that UKIP was "braced for a crash-landing" as many traditional Conservative voters who supported UKIP in recent elections are moving back.

The new shift is largely due to May‘s "repeated insistence that ‘Brexit means Brexit,‘ her prioritizing of immigration reform, criticism of liberal elites and push for more grammar schools - all of which will be music to UKIP voters‘ ears," Goodwin and fellow analyst David Cutts wrote for Politico.

The centre-left online newspaper The Independent said "UKIP is finally dead," but it did not celebrate the demise of the right-wing, anti-EU party.

It noted in a commentary that former Conservative prime minister David Cameron had "put party before country" by agreeing to hold a referendum on Britain‘s EU membership last June after he "got spooked by the Ukippers."

"And now we see a Tory party successful at the expense of the broader nation‘s interests," it said.

May succeeded Cameron last year. He resigned following his failed campaign to keep Britain in the European Union in the Brexit referendum.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4‘s Today programme, Defence Minister Michael Fallon said Friday‘s early results were encouraging, but he voiced concern that the Conservatives could have "peaked too soon" for the general election.

Political analysts also cautioned that big gains in the local elections would not necessarily herald the large parliamentary majority that May hopes to win in the general election.

May has asked voters to back her "strong and stable" leadership of the country and her plans for Brexit negotiations with EU leaders.

 

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