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Hartlepool by-election result LIVE – Tories take town as Red Wall crumbles again in further humiliation for Labour

BORIS Johnson has seized Hartlepool from Labour this morning on another seismic election night that will further redraw Britain’s political map.

The Tories romped home in the North East town, winning it for the first time in more than 50 years in a huge blow to Sir Keir Starmer.

They overturned Labour’s majority of 3,595 from 2019 to take the seat by a massive margin of 6,940.

There were cheers as Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer was announced the winner with 15,529 votes – well ahead of Labour’s Paul Williams on 8,589.

The PM’s party has also made huge gains in key council areas, including Harlow in Essex and Nuneaton and Bedworth, in Warwickshire.

But the results present an “existential” crisis for Sir Keir, and will throw further doubts over his future leadership of the left-wing party.

Welcome to The Sun’s Election 2021 live blog, where you’ll find all the latest results news and updates on the largest local vote in decades.

Approximately 48 million people were able to cast a vote for about 4,650 positions of power today – a much larger number than usual after much of the voting was delayed last year due to covid.

Polls closed at 10pm Thursday evening and a standard election would see votes counted overnight and declared the following day.

But some counts won’t take place until Friday or even Saturday this year with coronavirus measures expected to slow the process down.

Some polling centres are being used for vaccinations or cannot facilitate social distancing.

We’ll bring you everything you need to know to keep up to date as counting up and down the country begins.

Read our Local Elections 2021 live blog below for up to the minute updates…

  • GOT BREXIT DONE

    Tory Chair Amanda Milling is on Sky NEws right now.

    She says that the Tories promised to get Brexit done, and they did, which was a huge reason behind tonight’s results.

  • ‘A NEW POLITICAL AGE’

    Tory minister Lord Bethell says the Hartlepool election result further demonstrates the seismic shift in British politics after Brexit.

  • NEW AGE

    Lord Bethell, the Tory heath minister, says we’re living in a “new political age”. He’s posted a snap of himself with his adorable pooch…

  • BY-ELECTION BANDITS

    Finally the results are in, and Labour have been absolutely trounced in Hartlepool.

    This has got to be one of the biggest swings at a by-election for years.

    And it’s even more of a result when it’s considered how far the Tories are into running Government – they’ve been in power now for 11 years.

    We’d expect voters to want to give them a kicking at the ballot boxes, especially in Labour’s strongholds in the North of England.

    Things have changed…

  • BYE PAUL

    Ouch.

  • WHAT A RESULT

    Conservative Party Co-Chairman Amanda Milling hailed the result as “historic” this morning.

    She said: “We’re delighted that the people of Hartlepool have put their faith in Jill and the Conservatives to deliver on their priorities: to bring the change, investment and jobs Hartlepool deserves.

    “The work to repay that faith starts right now, as we continue with our agenda to level up and build back better from the pandemic.

    “I want to pay tribute to Jill Mortimer who will be a fantastic MP and will work tirelessly for the people of Hartlepool.

    “And I want to thank the voters of Hartlepool who have put their trust in us to deliver on their priorities”

  • CON GAIN WITH HUGE SWING

    23 per cent up for the Tories

    And nine per cent down for Labour.

    Huge challenge for Sir Keir Starmer now. Is this a sign of poor local election results to come for him in the rest of the day?

  • SMASHED IT

    Wow, that wasn’t even close…

    Conservative – Jill Mortimer: 15,529 votes
    Labour – Paul Williams – 8,589 votes

    Almost doubled. The Tory majoriy is now nearly 7,000…

    Jill is speaking now, she says: “People have made it clear, it’s time for change.

    “I will not let you down, I will not fail you.”

  • TORIES WIN HARTLEPOOL WITH HUGE MAJORITY

    Boris Johnson has seized Hartlepool from Labour this morning – knocking another huge brick out of the Red Wall.

    The Tories have romped home in the North East town, winning it for the first time in more than 50 years in a huge blow to Sir Keir Starmer.

    There were cheers as Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer was announced the winner with 15,529 votes – well ahead of Labour’s Paul Williams on 8,589.

    The stunning victory represents another seismic redrawing of Britain’s post-Brexit political map.

  • STAND BY

    Results coming now…

  • WHO IS JILL MORTIMER?

    North Yorkshire councillor and farmer Jill Mortimer is expected to be confirmed as the new Tory MP for Hartlepool within the hour.

    She is expected to become the Tory MP for the constituency since the seat was formed in 1974.

    Jill laughs as she waits for the results at this morning's count
    Jill laughs as she waits for the results at this morning’s count

    In 2019 she was the Conservative candidate in Leeds East at the 2019 election – but she lost out to Labour former shadow minister Richard Burgon.

    She said last month she was “a bit of a busy-body – the type of person who enjoys sorting things out for everyone else and I’m very persistent.

    “I want to use that experience to be a champion for the people of Hartlepool. I want to bring greater investment, jobs, apprenticeships and regeneration to the town.”

    Jill, third from right, arriving at the count this morning to hear the results
    Jill, third from right, arriving at the count this morning to hear the resultsCredit: PA

    Here’s the rest on her fellow candidates.

  • WHAT DID YOU BREXPECT?

    Labour made a big mistake picking a prominent Remainer as its candidate in Brexit voting Hartlepool, says former MP Kate Hoey.

  • CORB-EFFECT

    An ex-Labour MP, Mike Gapes, suggests the damage done by former leader, Jeremy Corbyn, will take time to undo…

  • BREXIT HART-LAND

    Hartlepool, let’s not forget, was a big leave area.

    Will this still be playing a part in tonight’s results? People who voted Tory in the hope Boris would deliver Brexit will have been pleased when their wishes were finally granted.

    Is it a gate-way to permanently voting Tory?

    Tonight’s results may seem to suggest so…

    Some pundits think we’re in for a huge realignment of the whole political landscape…

  • CHANGING LANDSCAPE

    It’s worth reminding ourselves what this means for Labour – and it ain’t good news.

    This result is another signal that the political landscape may be changing for good.

    Some voters have said they won’t vote Labour again after feeling betrayed over our EU exit.

    Others will have been won over by tough promises on law and order, and increased police numbers.

    And of course, the result will be a boost to the PM after weeks of headlines about the renovations of his Downing Street flat and reports that he had to ask donors to front the costs.

    Tories will say its proof that voters don’t care about the issue and the accusations of so called Tory sleaze have failed to stick.

    And they will point to the success of the vaccine rollout and the Tories’ messaging as key to pulling in a seat they would never have dreamed of winning a decade ago.

    How are Labour going to react to this – will it be knives out for Sir Keir this morning?

  • A LITTLE WAY OFF

    Sky’s John Craig, who is live from Hartlepool, says there’s still another three boxes of votes still to count… It doesn’t sound like the result is imminent yet.

    Jill Mortimer’s table is running out of space to put the votes on…

  • LOOKING GOOD FOR TORIES

    According to the Sky News feed, it’s looking good for the Tories in Hartlepool, which is the result we’re all waiting for.

    It’s worth noting what a huge result this will be for them, as they’ve never held the seat as long as it’s been in existence – since 1974.

    Just look at those ballots piling up for Jill Mortimer…

    Jill's rosette as she waits for the results to come in
    Jill’s rosette as she waits for the results to come in
  • HARTLEPOOL RESULT ‘EXPECTED AFTER 7AM’

    There are still three ballot boxes to count in Hartlepool meaning the result may not be declared until after 7am, the BBC reports.

    Pictures from the count, at the Mill House Leisure Centre, show ballot papers piling up for the candidates including Labour’s Paul Williams and the Tory Jill Mortimer.

  • LABOUR WILL ‘LISTEN AND REDOUBLE EFFORTS’ AFTER ROUT

    Party insiders say they always expected today’s results to be “particularly difficult” for the party” but that “people don’t want to hear excuses”.

    A Labour source said: “The message from voters is clear and we have heard it.

    “Labour has not yet changed nearly enough for voters to place their trust in us.

    “We understand that. We are listening. And we will now redouble our efforts.
     
    “Labour must now accelerate the programme of change in our party, to win back the trust and faith of working people across Britain.
     
    “Keir has said he will take responsibility for these results – and he will take responsibility for fixing it and changing the Labour Party for the better.”

  • HARRY COLE, SUN POLITICAL EDITOR

    Oh dear Kier. Labour couldn’t be off to worse start in the early council results.

    Big gains for the the Tories in Nuneaton and Bedworth as well as Harlow – 11 years into power – will send shivers down the spines of Labour strategists.

    These are exactly the sort of bellwether areas any party with a hope of forming a majority at a general election would need to be winning.

    Opposition leaders are meant to make gains at locals if they are on course for No10.

    But Starmer appears to not just be going backwards, but getting thumped. 

  • CABINET MINISTER TURNS SCREW ON STARMER

    Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said it would be “a disaster” for Sir Keir Starmer if Labour fails to win Hartlepool as predicted.

    He told Sky News: “It would be disastrous if Keir Starmer didn’t just win, but win with a majority.

    “It’s exceptionally rare to win a by-election when you’re in government.

    “The idea the Conservatives would be able to win a seat that’s been held for 40 to 50 years is remarkable.

    “If it’s close, that’s a really serious indictment of Keir Starmer.”

  • TORY GAINS ‘NOT DOWN TO VACCINE BOUNCE’

    Mo Hussein, a former Conservative adviser, said the party’s success is “a continuation of the political reconfiguration of the country”.

    He told the BBC: “What has struck a chord with people is this Government’s promise of levelling up.

    “This was a test for the Government, in terms of whether that new support of really not Conservative voting people would stay with them.

    “It feels like it will. That message has chimed, people now want to see results, but I don’t think it’s right to put it down to a vaccine bounce.”

    Sienna Rodgers, editor of the Labour List website, said the Hartlepool result will be “a blow to Keir Starmer”.

    She said: “This is an existential issue for Labour. There are much deeper issues to discuss and often it seems the party is mired in factional infighting rather than addressing those issues.”

  • TORIES CELEBRATE KEY COUNCIL GAINS

    Conservative MPs have been hailing two big local council gains from Labour this morning.

    The Tories have taken Harlow, in Essex, and Nuneaton and Bedworth, Warwickshire, from Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

    Harlow MP Robert Halfon said: “Harlow Council now under Conservative control for only the second time in the history of our town.”

    Nuneaton MP Marcus Jones added: “A massive effort by all concerned. Thank you to everyone that supported the Conservative candidates.”

  • LABOUR SOURCE THINKS PARTY HAS LOST HARTLEPOOL BY 5,000 TO 6,000 VOTES

    Here’s what journalist Josh Haliday said:

  • SHAUN BAILEY: CAMPAIGNING FOR LONDON MAYOR HAS BEEN ‘THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME’

    Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey tweeted: “Standing for mayor is the experience of a lifetime.”

    Writing after polls closed at 10pm, he added: “So with polls now closed, I want to thank everyone who voted for me and campaigned with me.

    “Whatever the result, we gave a voice to Londoners who know our city needs a fresh start. We can all be proud.

    “See you on Saturday!”

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