Local elections see Labour win in Birmingham and Southampton and a string of other regional towns and cities

Labour has won control of Birmingham and a host of other regional towns and cities overnight in local elections that have seen major loses for both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

The Labour Party seized control of Birmingham City Council over night from the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition. Preliminary results showed Labour now holds 77 seats on the council, up 20, with the Conservatives down 11 to 28, and the Lib Dems down 9 to just 4 seats.

Labour also won control over a host of other towns and cities around the country, including Derby, Norwich, Plymouth, Great Yarmouth, Reading, and Southampton.

In Liverpool, Labour mayoral candidate - and incumbent council leader - Joe Anderson romped home with nearly 60% of the vote.

However, early predictions on the result of the London mayoral election put Boris Johnson as the firm favourite, with a result expected this evening.

Early estimates put turnout in the local elections at just 32% - the lowest figure since 2000.

Overall preliminary figures overnight showed Labour winning control of 50 councils, up 20; the Conservatives 27 councils, down 11; and the Lib Dems 3, down 1.

The overnight results also showed Labour winning 1,113 councillors, up 469; the Conservatives 582, down 277; and the Lib Dems 212, down 129.

According to the BBC, the results are equivalent to Labour having 39% of the national vote, with the Conservatives on 31% and the Lib Dems on 16%. If these figures were replicated at a general election Labour would win with a majority of 86, the BBC said.

Ten cities across the country were also holding referenda on whether to switch to the directly-elected mayoral system. Overnight results revealed four - Manchester, Nottingham, Coventry and Bradford - all said no.

UPDATE: The latest results of the mayoral referenda, have Bristol the only city saying yes, with 53% in favour. However, Sheffield, Newcastle and Wakefield have all said no.Counting continues in Birmingham and Leeds.