VOTES are being counted in the Hartlepool by-election with Labour fearing Boris Johnson’s Tories will demolish another brick in the “red wall”.

The Hartlepool parliamentary contest will give one of the first indications of whether Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been able to turn around his party’s fortunes in its former northern heartlands.

Bookmakers have made Tory Jill Mortimer favourite to take the seat in a rare by-election victory for a governing party, with a result expected shortly before dawn on Friday.

Here, we've gathered together some behind the scenes photos of the count taking place