BBC News: Bad night at the polls for Labour
Labour is suffering heavy losses in local elections in England and Wales, with several councils changing hands. The party has lost more than 100 councillors and fallen into third place in projections of the national vote.
The Tories have won Trafford, Tamworth and Rossendale while Lib Dems in Pendle are celebrating victory. But both parties have suffered council losses.
The London mayor and assembly counts will come on Friday and European election counting starts on Sunday.
Labour has lost control of Bassetlaw for the first time since 1979, as well as suffering defeats in St Helens, Burnley, Hastings and Oxford.
...Tony Blair has acknowledged the Iraq war has cast a "shadow" over Labour's vote.
Pay attention, Monkey Boy™ ...
Update, 9:00AM EST, 6/11/04 - Yep, an old fashioned poodle spanking. An update from BBC this morning:
So far Labour has lost about 258 seats. Deputy leader John Prescott said voters had given Labour a "kicking" because of anger over the Iraq war.And in other news, Karl Rove gave birth to a litter (pride?) of kittens last night...
The Tories have gained 123 seats and won Trafford and Tamworth. Charles Kennedy said Lib Dem gains showed the UK now had true three party politics.
The London mayor result is due later on Friday with Euro results on Sunday.
After about half the results the turnout across England and Wales is running at 40%, up an average of 9% on last year - an increase not confined to the four regions piloting all-postal ballots.
Update, 9:45PM EST, 6/11/04 - The poodle barks.
LONDON (Reuters) - A humbled Tony Blair returns to Britain on Saturday to answer critics in his own party after voter backlash against his support for war in Iraq brought an unprecedented trouncing in local elections.Ah, those Brits. Always the masters of understatement.
Blair's aides tried to put the best possible spin on the election defeat while the prime minister attended the funeral of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington.
But more than 460 Labor officials were voted out of local government, and Blair will have to convince party members with seats in national parliament that they will not suffer the same fate in a general election likely next year.
"I'd like to say I'm sorry to the (local) councillors who've lost their seats," Blair told reporters in Washington before heading home. "I think Iraq has been a shadow over our support."