THE Conservative Party is licking its wounds after losing power in 48 local authorities and shedding more than 1000 councillors as the results of the local election continue to be announced.

The Prime Minister told broadcasters it was “hard to draw firm conclusions” from the initial results yet conceded that, so far, the news was “disappointing”.

“It’s always disappointing to lose hardworking Conservative councillors,” he said.

“They’re friends, they’re colleagues and I’m so grateful to them for everything they’ve done.

“But in terms of the results, it’s still early. We’ve just had a quarter of the results in, but what I am going to carry on doing is delivering on the people’s priorities.”

Other figures in the party were distinctly less optimistic.

After Tories lost Swindon council, which had been controlled by Conservatives for more than 20 years, North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said the party had to take the “dreadful” results as a “wake-up call”.

Veterans minister and local MP Johnny Mercer said Labour gaining control of Plymouth council, where the Tories had run a minority administration, was “terrible”.

While Jonathan Gullis, the Tory MP for Stoke-on-Trent, which also turned over to Labour, told Sky News that councillors had “suffered because, at the end of 2022, the Conservative Party as a brand was certainly damaged.”

Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Starmer celebrated the results with nearly three quarters of authorities having declared.

He said said the “fantastic” results combined with a hoped-for recovery in Scotland would give him a majority in Westminster during a General Election.

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“Make no mistake,” he said. “We are on course for a Labour majority at the next general election.

“We’ve changed our party. We’ve won the trust, the confidence of voters, and now we can go on to change our country. Change is possible. A better Britain is possible.”

However, polling expert John Curtice told the PA news agency that the “jury is still out” on whether Labour has made progress as a party and said it is not experiencing the level of success seen ahead of Sir Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide.

“Labour are going to have their biggest lead over the Conservatives in terms of votes than at any point since 2010,” he said. “But it’s going to be as much to do with the Conservatives being down as much as it is Labour being up.”

Indeed, Labour’s attempts to regain Hull from the Lib Dems failed, with Ed Davey’s party tightening its grip on the authority, and Labour lost control of Slough to the Tories.