The Conservatives need to 'learn the lessons' of an election in which they made disappointing progress in the West Midlands, a senior Tory has warned.
But Labour may have lost up to a million votes across the country because of Iraq, according to a Birmingham Labour MP.
Tony Blair?s party saw its majority cut in many seats, but hopes of a significant Conservative revival in the region were dashed.
The Tories failed to take a number of highly marginal seats, and found themselves pushed from second to third place in parts of Birmingham.
Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell (Sutton Coldfield), a Home Affairs spokesman, admitted: ?There are clearly lessons to be learned by the party from these results. But it would be a mistake to jump to conclusions in the immediate aftermath.?
However, the Iraq war played a role in reducing Labour?s Parliamentary majority to 66, down from 165 in 2001, according to Labour MP Steve McCabe (Lab Hall Green).
He said: ?The success in some places of the Liberal Democrats, and of George Galloway, suggests there has been an Iraq protest vote.
?We lost around one-million votes, which is about the size of the anti-war lobby.?
The Conservatives gained Rugby & Kenilworth, Shrewsbury & Atcham and the Wrekin from Labour, and Ludlow from the Liberal Democrats.
But they failed to take target seats, such as Redditch, Stourbridge, Burton, Warwick & Leamington, Stafford and Tamworth, which could have been within their grasp. The biggest blow to the Tories in the region was Solihull, considered to be one of the safest Conservatives seats in the country, which fell to the Liberal Democrats.
John Taylor, the former Tory MP, had represented the constituency for 22 years. He lost by 279 votes to business-woman Lorely Burt.
In Wolverhampton South West, another ?true blue? seat which the Conservatives had expected to win, their share of the vote actually fell.
And they will have been disappointed not to gain Wyre Forest, where independent Health Concern campaigner Richard Taylor kept his seat.
Conservatives failed to make headway in Birmingham. Not only did they fail to take Edgbaston, but they moved down from second to third place in a number of constituencies, with the Liberal Democrats emerging as the new challengers. The picture in Birmingham is also worrying for Labour.
Clare Short?s majority in Ladywood was cut by two thirds, down from 18,143 in 2001 to just 6,801.
The Liberal Democrats, who traditionally came third in Ladywood, moved up to second place.
In Hodge Hill, which the Liberal Democrats had targeted, Labour MP Liam Byrne won by 5,500 votes, half the majority enjoyed by Labour in 2001.
Once again the Liberal Democrats rose from third place to become the main challengers.
And the anti-war Respect party achieved a remarkable result in Birmingham Spark-brook and Small Heath, coming from nowhere to take second place and slash Labour?s majority.
Labour MP Roger Godsiff won by 3,289 votes, down from a majority of 16,246 in 2001. Respect candidate Salma Yaqoob polled a total of 10,498 votes.
But Labour can take heart from the result in Perry Barr, where there had been speculation Blairite Labour MP Khalid Mahmood would be punished by Muslim voters for failing to oppose the Iraq war. His majority was barely down on 2001.
As well as victory in Soli-hull, the Liberal Democrats were celebrating taking Yard-ley from Labour and holding Hereford.
But John Hemming, their victorious Yardley candidate, said the party needed to move further into the mainstream and avoid fringe issues.
He said: ?The party needs to move towards the sort of common-sense approach we saw in Yardley and Solihull.?