UK Conservatives' power base bolstered in local elections

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives appear to have scored big gains in local elections — a barometer of the strength of the party's power base ahead of the June 8 national contest.

With about a fifth of the votes counted, May's party had gained five councils and took the new position of the mayor of the city of Bristol and surrounding area.

The opposition Labour Party took a beating, suffering losses in Wales, a one-time stronghold. The U.K. Independence Party failed to hold a single seat in early counting, as voters switched to the Conservatives.

Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell acknowledged Friday that Labour had suffered a "tough" night, but told ITV that the results were not "the wipeout that people expected" and insisted it is still "all to play for" in the national vote.