Election results: Conservatives gain three councils as ‘Super Thursday’ counts continue

The Conservatives’ big win in the Hartlepool by-election has been reflected in early results from English council elections.

As of 4pm on Friday afternoon, they had won 311 seats, while Labour were on 225.

That was a rise of 87 for the Tories, and a decline of 98 for Labour.

The Conservatives had also gained three councils, while Labour had lost two.

The Conservatives seized Dudley council from no overall control – in a place where Labour previously had the highest number of seats.

The Tories also took Harlow from Labour, and Northumberland, Nottinghamshire and Nuneaton and Bedworth – all from no overall control.

But they lost Castle Point to independents, and lost Cambridgeshire to no overall control.

UK elections live: Follow latest results and reaction as ‘Super Thursday’ votes counted

In Scotland, where results are trickling in, the SNP had seven Holyrood seats as of 3pm on Friday afternoon, while the Liberal Democrats had one.

The SNP’s share of the vote was down slightly, by 1.8%, while the Conservatives’ had risen by 2.2%. But that was very early in the counting process.

In Wales, one Welsh parliament result had been declared as of 3pm on Friday afternoon – a Conservative hold in Montgomeryshire.

In England, Labour held councils in Gateshead, Hastings, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Oldham, Rochdale, Sandwell and South Tyneside, Sunderland and Wolverhampton.

But it lost Rossendale to no overall control.

It comes after a major blow for Sir Keir Starmer in the Hartlepool by-election, as Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer gained 15,529 votes – more than half the total cast – with Labour’s Dr Paul Williams trailing on 8,589.

Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed admitted it was an "absolutely shattering" result as another brick in the party’s once impregnable "red wall" crumbled.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed some of last year’s council contests, making this year’s the largest test of political opinion outside a general election in nearly 50 years.

Voters and politicians will be kept waiting longer than usual for results due to COVID restrictions, as ballots continue to be tallied in England, Scotland and Wales following the Super Thursday polls.

Results will trickle in over the weekend and through to Monday, with some potentially not declaring until next Tuesday.

In England, people were voting in local council elections, mayoral contests, and for police and crime commissioners.

It could be Sunday night before England’s local election results are declared, and the police and crime commissioner votes may not be declared until Monday night.

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP is hoping for an overall majority, something she would see as a mandate to hold a second independence referendum, which risks splitting up the United Kingdom.

In Wales, Mark Drakeford is hoping to maintain Labour’s grip as voters choose their representatives in the Senedd. He could, however, find himself relying on a coalition to keep him in the first minister role.

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