Britain's main opposition Labour Party lost less ground than expected in local elections on Friday and was leading the race for London's mayor, giving new leader Jeremy Corbyn enough ammunition to brush off his critics. Julian Satterthwaite reports.
Tough questions Friday morning for UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. His party losing seats in local and regional elections. Its vote down around the country. That's unusual for opposition parties, which usually gain from the government in midterm polls. But Reuters senior UK correspondent Estelle Shirbon says it could have been much worse: SOUNBITE (English) ESTELLE SHIRBON, REUTERS UK CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "I think the emerging consensus is that while it's not a catastrophic result, and it's not enough to trigger a coup against jeremy Corbyn any time soon, nor is it a surprisingly positive result that could have silenced the naysayers within the party." Scotland providing the big shock of the night, with the Conservatives overtaking Labour as the second party in the Edinburgh parliament. That assembly still dominated by Nicola Sturgeon's nationalists, but they were left just short of a majority. An alliance with the greens now seen likely. But it's the Tory comeback that left Labour reeling: SOUNBITE (English) ESTELLE SHIRBON, REUTERS UK CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "John Mann, a Labour member of parliament, has described the Scottish result as cataclysmic for Labour because Ruth Davidson, the very strong personality who leads the Conservative party up in Scotland, has really had a successful night for that party. It was really in the wilderness in Scotland for a very, very long time - a very unpopular party north of the border really going back to the days of Mrs Thatcher." There could be a big consolation for the Labour leader later in the day, however. Polls pointing to a win for party candidate Sadiq Khan in the race to replace Boris Johnson as London mayor. The results of that contest not due until late Friday.