LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's governing Labour Party suffered its worst defeat in some four decades in local elections, according to full results, cited by the BBC on Friday. With all 159 local council results outside of London counted, Labour had lost 331 seats and lost control of nine councils to hold 18, while the Opposition Conservatives gained 256 seats and boosted their council tally by 12 to 65. The poll drubbing, dubbed a "bloodbath" by London's Evening Standard newspaper and "Black Friday" by others, was the worst for Labour since the 1960s under then premier Harold Wilson, according to the BBC and other media. Brown admitted Friday that his Labour party had suffered a "bad" blow in local elections which produced its worst results since the 1960s. "It's clear to me that this has been a disappointing night, indeed a bad night for Labour," Brown told reporters, linking Labour's performance to the effects of the global credit crunch. "We have lessons to learn from that and then we will move forward." Conservative leader David Cameron said the results were "a very big moment" for his party. Some commentators suggest the Tories' strong showing could be a springboard to victory in a general election which must be held by mid-2010. Amid speculation current Mayor, Labour's Ken Livingstone, would lose in the backlash, Brown seemed to sound a valedictory note when he said he spoke to the mayor last night and thanked him "for the campaign he has run and the message he has put across." Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, told BBC television: "We all think these are disappointing results and we recognise the economic context with people feeling the pinch ... "But we are determined to listen and confident to take the country forward." Brown has been shaken in recent months by poor opinion polls and lawmakers' dissent over tax reforms and plans to extend the period of pre-trial detention for terrorist suspects to 42 days. It seems unlikely that he will now face a quick leadership challenge, but most commentators expect him to try and relaunch his government with a new policy programme. The results give a major boost to the Conservatives' hopes of winning the next general election. They have not won since John Major's victory in 1992 and been plagued by major internal splits, notably over the European Union, but have recently gained momentum, particularly over state of the economy, as Brown and Labour have flailed in recent months. "The possibility at least that the Conservatives might win the general election is no longer inconceivable," Professor John Curtice, professor of government at Strathclyde University, told BBC radio. In all, some 13,000 candidates fought for more than 4,000 seats on 159 municipal councils in England and Wales as well as the 25-member London Assembly and mayoral vote.