By Ray Fleming

AS expected, Britain's coalition government took a beating from Ed Miliband's Labour party in Thursday's local elections throughout England, Scotland and Wales. As the vote counting slowed down late yesterday afternoon the only unresolved contest of importance was for Mayor of London. The Indications were that Boris Johnson would be re-elected -- an outcome that David Cameron will welcome for more reasons than one.

A defeated Boris would be looking around for a job to do -- Mr Cameron's perhaps?
Trends in mid-term local elections can be misleading as guidance to a general election two or three years away. But one interesting statistic yesterday was that Labour took about 38 per cent of all votes cast and Conservatives 31 per cent , giving Labour a seven per cent lead that matches recent polling results and that would give Labour a majority of 86 in the House of Commons.

But turn-out on Thursday was very low at 32 percent, meaning that not too much reliance should be placed on these results. Nonetheless, Mr Cameron will find it difficult to ignore them. The Conservatives lost control of 12 councils while Labour gained control of 31 and Labour's resurgence in Wales, beginning in Cardiff, will be a morale booster for the party. (if the figures seem not to add up it's because of number of NOCs -- “no overall control” councils.)

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