PETER OBORNE: How Jeremy Corbyn was snared in the Brexit death trap

Experts predicted Theresa May and her Conservative party would experience an electoral massacre.

Certainly, the results were a stinging rebuff as they lost well over 1,000 council seats.

It was even more dreadful than predicted. But the Tories were always going to do badly because the last time these seats were fought had been a high water mark for them electorally – David Cameron’s general election victory of spring 2015.

However, Labour is also a big loser in these local elections.

Experts predicted Theresa May (pictured) and her Conservative party would experience an electoral massacre

However, Labour (Jeremy Corbyn is pictured) is also a big loser in these local elections

Experts predicted Theresa May (left) and her Conservative party would experience an electoral massacre. However, Labour (Jeremy Corbyn is pictured right) is also a big loser in these local elections

They should have scooped up barrowloads of votes considering we have the weakest Prime Minister in memory – and that news on polling day had been dominated by Tories being convulsed by recriminations over the sacking of Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

The fact is that according to the iron rule of British politics, when a government is in trouble, the Opposition is bound to benefit. Yet Labour was hit by a series of hammer blows.

The party lost control of Bolsover District Council for the first time in more than 40 years. This is the Derbyshire former mining town that’s been represented in Parliament by the veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner since 1970.

Other key losses were the Wirral and Hartlepool councils – traditional Labour areas.

Overall, they lost more than 75 councillors and control of several local authorities. Gaining control of Trafford Council, a long-term target, was only a small compensation.

Almost as calamitous for Jeremy Corbyn was the fact that the biggest winners of the night were the Liberal Democrats, who had been written off as a political force with just 11 MPs.

Almost as calamitous for Jeremy Corbyn was the fact that the biggest winners of the night were the Liberal Democrats (Vince Cable is pictured), who had been written off as a political force with just 11 MPs

Almost as calamitous for Jeremy Corbyn was the fact that the biggest winners of the night were the Liberal Democrats (Vince Cable is pictured), who had been written off as a political force with just 11 MPs

Of course the Tories are still in deep trouble. But Thursday’s local election results are a brutal reminder that Labour is in no fit state to form a government.

Most pertinently, they expose the huge risk Mr Corbyn took at a meeting of the party’s governing National Executive Committee on Tuesday by not committing Labour to a second EU referendum.

Instead of doing so decisively, and thus pleasing the majority of party members who want a second vote, he sat on the fence, doubtless cynically hoping to appeal to Leave voters and Remainers at the same time. As so often has been the case with Mr Corbyn’s leadership, his cynicism and procrastination have done him no good.

His attempt to appeal to all sides has left him offending parts of both.

In the Brexit-supporting North East, voters abandoned Labour in droves. And in pro-Remain areas elsewhere, people who traditionally vote Labour defected to the Lib Dems, the Greens and other fringe

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