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Boris Johnson’s Conservatives shed seats across England and lost three London strongholds, but the prime minister appears to have avoided the scale of disaster in Thursday’s local elections that might have triggered a fresh bid by members of his party to replace him.

With more than half of councils reporting results, the U.K. governing party had lost about one in six of its seats. That is far from some of the more dire predictions ahead of the polls, which typically give voters the chance to lodge a mid-term protest against the government. Electoral Calculus had projected the Tories would lose about a third of their seats.

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