Conservatives set to lose 800 seats in local elections, according to Tory polling expert
The Conservatives are set to lose at least 800 seats in this week's local elections, according to a Tory peer.
Polling expert Lord Hayward predicted that the Lib Dems would be the main beneficiaries, picking up more than 500 wards.
He said that Labour is likely to gain fewer than 300 seats.
A total of 8,374 council seats in England are up for grabs on Thursday, as well as 460 in Northern Ireland.
When the same wards were contested four years ago, on the same day as the 2015 general election, the Conservatives gained 504 councillors, with Labour losing 238, the Lib Dems losing 425 and Ukip gaining 112.
Of the seats up for grabs, the Tories have 4,628 councillors, Labour 2,069 and the Lib Dems 641 seats.
The Conservatives control 135 councils, while Labour runs 67 and the Lib Dems control seven.
Lord Hayward said: "The Tories are at an historic high for a governing party after nine years in power. A fall from that level is therefore inevitable at some stage and it will come this year - with force.
"The Lib Dems are at an almost 40-year low and can expect an equivalent rise.
"(Pollsters) Rallings and Thrasher last week predicted Tory losses in the range of 500-1000. I would fall slightly on the higher side of that at around 800+, of which Labour will probably gain somewhat less than 300 and Lib Dems probably more than 500.
"This would only be an adequate result for Labour and better for the Lib Dems."
Lord Hayward said he expected the Greens "to continue to make gains without spectacular gains in any location".