British PM's party suffers heavy losses in mid-term polls
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
AFP PhotoPrime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party took a bashing in local elections, losing many councils and seats today, capping a bad month for the government after Britain slid back into recession.
The main opposition Labour Party made big gains in the elections across parts of England and Wales at the expense of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, their centrist partners in the coalition government.
In a further blow to Cameron two years after he came to power, his push to create the posts of elected mayors in all major British cities was widely rejected by voters in referendums.
The Conservatives even lost seats to Labour in the prime minister's own constituency in Oxfordshire, southern England.
However, Conservative Boris Johnson may hold on to the mayor's job in London, where counting gets under way later Friday and a result is expected from 1900 GMT.
Counting is also yet to begin in Scottish local elections. Northern Ireland is not voting this time.
A BBC vote share estimate based on English results put Labour up three percent on 39 percent, the Conservatives down four on 31, the Liberal Democrats unchanged on 16 and others on 14. They projected a low turnout of 32 percent.
With results in from 98 of the 181 local councils at stake, the Conservatives controlled 27, lost 11 and held 578 seats, down 276.
Labour were the big winners, gaining control of 21 councils to give them power in a total of 49, and they now hold at least 1,093 seats (up 460).
The Lib Dems rule just three councils, down one, and had 212 seats (down 129).
Labour's showpiece gain was wresting back control of Britain's second city Birmingham from a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition after eight years.