Local elections: Labour beat expectations, Conservatives gain, Lib Dems recover

Labour performed above expectations in yesterday's local elections and is on course to increase its share of the vote in England, while the Conservatives made moderate gains, the Liberal Democrats showed signs of recovery and UKIP picked up seats.

With 80 out of 124 councils declared, Labour lost control of Dudley to NOC. But it held the council in Crawley, a key Westminster marginal, increasing its majority. Labour now controls 41 councils.

Overall, the party lost 25 councillors to leave it on 784. While Labour losses were not as bad as had been predicted, it is still the first time since 1985 that an opposition party has not increased its number of seats in a mid-term election.

The Conservatives gained one council, Peterborough, from NOC but lost Worcester to NOC. It now controls 20 councils.

The party added eight seats overall to leave it with 475 councillors.

The Liberal Democrats also gained eight seats overall, leaving it with 174 councillors. It also held on to control of two councils - Eastleigh and South Lakeland.

UKIP picked up 20 seats to take it to 28 councillors. The party's strongest performance was in Thurrock, where it won six seats but lost out on becoming the largest party by one vote. The council remains NOC.

The big news of the night for UKIP was its breakthrough in the Welsh Assembly, where it picked up four seats, including ones for former MPs Neil Hamilton and Mark Reckless.

The Greens lost two seats to leave the party with 12 councillors.

Elsewhere, Joe Anderson won a second term as mayor of Liverpool with more than 50 per cent of the vote.

The result of the London mayoral race is expected to be announced at 5pm.

Other results expected over the rest of today and tomorrow include the outcomes of mayoral elections in Salford and Bristol, London Assembly elections and 41 police and crime commissioner elections.