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However, Mrs May has hailed Conservative "success" in local elections after Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party failed to make predicted breakthroughs.

- The Liberal Democrats put on an extra 76 seats and gained control of four extra councils. The dial hardly moved for these areas in the local elections and they remain closely fought, with no dividend to be gained from a previous significant UKIP presence. Ukip (Independent party) was nearly wiped out, losing all but three of its 126 seats, but the Liberal Democrats had a good night, gaining 75 seats and winning control of four more councils. It was a far cry from 2014, when Nigel Farage was celebrating victory in the European poll and a 17% share of the popular vote in the local elections.

They also took Kirklees, a council we haven't held since 1999 and had their best result in London since 1971.

Theresa May's party appeared to have benefited from an nearly total collapse in the Ukip vote, which saw the Eurosceptic party shed councillors across the country. With more than two thirds of the 150 results announced, UKIP had held on to two seats on local councils and lost 92, putting a question mark on the party's survival.

The Conservatives took control of councils in Basildon and Peterborough, but lost Trafford, in Greater Manchester, and the Mole Valley.

The pro-EU Liberal Democrats, who did badly in the 2017 general election, made gains in several areas, winning Richmond near London from the Conservatives.

The Greens will be pleased to have taken two seats from Labour and to have emphatically increased the majority of Councillor Alison Teal in Nether Edge and Sharrow - who was of course arrested and taken to court by her own council for protesting against felling in her ward - by almost 1,500 votes.

"After eight years of an unpopular government in crisis we should be romping home", said one Labour MP, representing a northern, working-class constituency.

Mr Corbyn's alleged failure to tackle anti-Semitism is being blamed for the losses after one of the most strongly Jewish boroughs in the country changed from no overall control to being a Tory-led council.

'I knocked on the door of a woman who had a Mezuzah on her door and said she was a lifelong Labour voter and from a union background.

Labour sources described their results as "solid", saying that the party had consolidated advances made at last year's general election.

In Barnet, former Labour councillor Adam Langleben voiced his anger at the impact which the row over anti-Semitism had on his party's fortunes.

On a victory tour in London, May said Labour "threw everything at it, but they failed", while adding: "We won't take anything for granted".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Think of the Black Death in the Middle Ages". "We will not tolerate racism of any form", the then Conservative council group leader Joe Clooney had insisted at the time, vowing that: "Rosemary Carroll has been suspended from the Conservative Group on Pendle Council and the Conservative Party with immediate effect, pending a full investigation in due course".

Labour will be disappointed to find themselves down by nine and UKIP (rather expectedly) saw their regional seat total reduced by 11.