Labour are bracing for its worst local election defeat in recent history, a leaked document revealed today.
The party could lose 315 councillors and control of heartland cities including Sheffield under the worst-case scenario laid out for the May 7 poll.
It comes after the party suffered its worst general election defeat since the 1930s in December.
The documents, leaked to the BBC, warned that the party is facing ‘one of its worst’ results in history.
Ian Murray, who is running to be Labour’s deputy leader, said: ‘This report should be an urgent wake-up call for the party.
”We are sleepwalking into disaster.”
Elections will take place on May 7 for 118 councils in England: 22 unitary authorities, 34 metropolitan boroughs and 62 non-metropolitan districts.
There will also be eight mayoral elections including in London.
The leaked document laid out three scenarios for the election, using different polling methods.
In every scenario Labour loses control of councils in Plymouth, the Essex town of Harlow, Amber Valley in Derbyshire and West Lancashire.
In two scenarios it loses control of Southampton and the worst-case one also adds the loss of Sheffield, which it has controlled for much of the post-war period.
A Labour Party spokesman said: ‘We recognise the scale of the challenge we face on May 7 and we will be fighting for every vote in the local elections.’