David Cameron has claimed the Conservatives' "spectacular" victory in the local elections shows they are capable of winning seats across the country at a general election.
The Conservative leader said the landslide victory, which is arguably the Tories' best result in regional elections since the most dominant years of the Thatcher regime in the early 1980s, is indicative of the growing strength of his party within parliament.
And Cameron believes the result show just how far the Tory party has come since its devastating defeats in three consecutive general elections in 1997, 2001 and 2005.
"Across the country what's remarkable about these figures is that the Conservative party is winning in every part of the country," he said.
"In the south west against the Lib Dems, in the Midlands against Labour and in the north west we are doing very well - in Lancashire against Labour as well.
The Tories have taken councils from Labour and the Lib Dems including Derbyshire, which has been run by Labour since 1981.
Labour has lost control of all of its four councils, leaving many Labour MPs and activists questioning whether prime minister Gordon Brown is the right man to lead the party into the general election, which will be in less than a year's time.