UK Labour has suffered a drubbing in Scotland and setbacks south of the border in elections seen as the first nationwide verdict on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson made clear she expected to head the main opposition party at Holyrood as Labour looked set to slump into third place in Scottish Parliament polls, losing more than nine points in its share of the vote.
In highly symbolic results, Labour lost the totemic Rhondda seat in the Welsh Assembly to Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and saw the Scottish National Party pull off a clean sweep of seats in its one-time stronghold of Glasgow.
While Labour held on to two safe seats in Westminster by-elections and losses in English councils were less deep than some predicted, frustrations with Mr Corbyn’s leadership bubbled to the surface.
Backbench MP Neil Coyle warned the party was “moving away from government” under the veteran left-winger, while the leader of the Labour group on Portsmouth Council, John Ferret, denounced him on BBC Radio as “incompetent” and “incapable of giving the leadership we need”.
Bassetlaw MP John Mann said third place in Scotland would be “cataclysmic” for Labour.