Results revealed in Telford as Tories take Hartlepool

Boris Johnson's Conservative Party won an election for a new member of parliament in the northern English town of Hartlepool. AP

Boris Johnson's Conservative Party won an election for a new member of parliament in the northern English town of Hartlepool. AP

Hartlepool is a rust-belt constituency deep in Labour's northeastern heartland which has never voted Conservative since its creation in 1974.

She added that Labour had "taken the people of Hartlepool for granted for too long" and that her win showed that the town had voted for change.

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

Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer beat the Labour candidate by 15,529 votes to 8,589, securing what less than a decade ago would have been seen as impossible feat of dislodging the main opposition Labour Party from one of its heartland seats in northern England.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives scored an upset victory in an opposition stronghold Friday, after Britain held its first major electoral test since Brexit and the coronavirus crisis.

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The Hartlepool result confirmed Johnson's bond with working class English voters after he swept up support from those who previously backed the Brexit party, which won 26 per cent of the vote in the coastal town in 2019. In 2019, the party suffered its worst election defeat since 1935.

"If it's close, that's a really serious indictment of Keir Starmer".

"It is a truly historic result and a momentous day", Mortimer said in her victory speech. "It tells us the pace of change in the Labour party has not been fast enough".

Starmer has accepted personal responsibility for the debacle and is likely to reshuffle his low-profile shadow cabinet as he tries to move his party towards the centre and shake it out of its malaise.

On what was dubbed Super Thursday, around 50 million voters were eligible to take part in scores of elections, some of which had been postponed a year because of the pandemic that has left the United Kingdom with Europe's largest coronavirus death toll.

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The "Super Thursday" regional and local elections could reshape the United Kingdom as pro-independence forces in Scotland bid to break away. Counting has been delayed by Covid-19 restrictions.

The Conservatives were hopeful of holding on to the mayoralty in the bellwether West Midlands region and the industrial Tees Valley.

In Edinburgh, the Scottish National Party (SNP) is seeking a pro-independence majority to put pressure on Johnson to permit another referendum on splitting from the United Kingdom, after most Scots voted in 2014 to stay in.

Sturgeon is expected to use a victory to claim a mandate for a second independence referendum, although Johnson has been adamant that Westminster would refuse to grant a plebiscite on splitting the UK.

Early results suggest a set of dire results for the Labour Party with the Tories achieving a stunning win in the Hartlepool by-election with a swing to the government party of 16 percent.

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Voters in Wales were voting for their national representatives in the Senedd, with Mark Drakeford hoping to maintain Labour's grip - although he could be forced to forge a new coalition to remain as first minister.

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