Election results: Tories increase number of councils by three 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 6pm on Friday, they had won 554 seats, while Labour were on 438.

That was a rise of 123 for the Tories, and a decline of 135 for Labour.

In the Tees Valley mayoral election, Conservative Ben Houchen was re-elected with 72.8% of the vote – up 22% on his 2017 result.

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

Boris Johnson’s party 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

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

But it lost Rossendale and Sheffield to no overall control.

Results from Thursday’s elections for council, mayoral elections and police and crime commissioner elections in England will continue to come in through over the weekend.

It comes after a major blow for leader 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.

Speaking on Friday afternoon, Sir Keir said he took "full responsibility for the results", adding: "We have changed as a party, but we haven’t set out a strong enough case to the country very often."

His party held the Liverpool mayoralty.

In Scotland, the SNP had 27 Holyrood seats as of 6pm on Friday, while the Liberal Democrats had three and Conservatives 1.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon held her seat of Glasgow Southside.

In Wales, three Welsh parliament results had been declared as of 4.30pm on Friday – a Conservative hold in Montgomeryshire, a Tory gain in the Vale of Clwyd, and a Labour hold in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.

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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