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Pasting at polls puts Major on the skids; HE'S GOT THE BLUES: Election disaster as Tories lose 555 seats.

The Tories were reeling last night after losing at least 555 seats in the English local elections.

The slaughter brought demands for John Major to face the country in a General Election.

The Tories' beloved Middle England and Essex man deserted the Prime Minister in droves.

They were left with just a handful of councils in their true blue southern heartland.

The massive defeat spelt a General Election disaster for the Tories and gave jubilant Labour leader Tony Blair a massive boost.

Major's leadership was put under more pressure as the night wore on.

Within two hours of the polls closing it was clear he was facing a mauling, with normally safe Harlow and Basildon turning against him.

Labour made massive gains, particularly in areas needed if Blair is to win the General Election.

The Lib Dems were also jubilant after gaining more than 100 seats.

Deputy Labour leader John Prescott beamed: "We just want a General Election. Let the people make a judgment.

"Tory voters are ashamed of this Government and it shows. People are turning to Labour because we are trusted. This is a very good win for us."

But Tory Party chairman Brian Mawhinney said Labour had "peaked too soon" and had nowhere to go now but down.

The Tories lost true-blue Runnymede, near Windsor, and were totally wiped out in Tamworth, Harlow, Stevenage, Newcastle and Manchester.

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Michael Black, died of a heart attack just hours before losing his seat. The 71- year-old Labour councillor lost to a left-winger.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Murphy, Brendan
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 3, 1996
Words:257
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