David Cameron's leadership of the Conservative party could face a serious test as soon as this summer, experts have predicted.

The forecast comes just weeks after the Prime Minister was forced to plead with his party to focus on fighting the Labour party, not itself.

Political analysts warn the Tory leader could face serious questions over his position following what they forecast will be a disastrous round of local election results.

Labour will do well at the polls, taking many council seats in England, they forecast.

"In contrast, the Conservatives look set to lose many seats, creating the possibility of a post-election panic and questions about the viability of Cameron's continued leadership," according to the academics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

The group said that the results would most likely be written off as unsurprising, as governing parties often struggle in mid-term elections.

But they added: "It is possible that it could lead to some Conservative panic. And as we saw in 1990 and 2003, when the Tories believe they are going down to defeat, they can be more ruthless than anyone."

The elections, to take place in May, will only affect English councils.

Scottish council elections took place last year.