Counting has begun after a day of voting that could have profound implications for the future of the United Kingdom and the Labour Party.
Early results paint a dim picture for Sir Keir Starmer‘s Labour Party – which lost Hartlepool to the Conservatives for the first time ever – as ballots continue to be tallied in England, Scotland and Wales following the Super Thursday polls.
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.
UK elections live: Follow latest results and reaction as ‘Super Thursday’ votes counted
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.
In England, people were voting in local council elections, mayoral contests, and for police and crime commissioners.
Early results show the Conservatives seized Redditch and Nuneaton & Bedworth councils in the Midlands from Labour, along with Harlow in Essex, while Sir Keir’s party saw heavy losses across North East local authorities.
Nuneaton’s Conservative MP Marcus Jones wrote on Twitter that he was “delighted” with the result, adding: “A missive (sic) effort by all concerned. Thank you to everyone that supported the Conservative candidates.”
Harlow MP Robert Halfon said he was “proud” after the Tories seized control of the Essex district council from Labour.
He tweeted: “Harlow Council now under @HarlowTories @Conservatives control for only the second time in the history of our town.”
Labour held Rochdale, South Tyneside; Sunderland, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, while Southend-on-Sea remained under no overall control.
Voters and politicians will be kept waiting longer than usual for results due to coronavirus restrictions.
Results will trickle in over the weekend and through to Monday, with some potentially not declaring until next Tuesday.
Holyrood votes will be counted on Friday and Saturday, while Wales’ result should become clear on Friday.
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.
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