Boris Johnson says early results look 'very encouraging'
Counting remains underway across the country and after the results from 76 out of the 143 councils are declared – the Labour Party has lost more than 150 seats. Currently, the Tories have taken 1,153 council seats, an increase of 161. The Labour Party is on 788, a decrease of 174. Labour has won control of 32 councils – a net loss of control of four authorities. Meanwhile, the Tory party is on 31 – a net gain of eight.
Due to this devastating election performance, Sir Keir has come under fire from within his own party for failing to set out a clear plan to attract voters to the opposition.
The Tories won Hartlepool earlier today, a Labour stronghold since 1974.
Losing the seat is a major blow Sir Keir who becomes one of the first Labour leaders to lose their first by-election.
Labour's crisis has continued, however, as the party also lost its council leader in Oldham this morning - an independent candidate has now taken the seat.
The next Scottish Parliament, Welsh Senedd, London mayor and London Assembly will be determined.
The Labour Party has suffered heavy defeats in the local elections
Elections have also taken place for 13 regional mayors, 39 police and crime commissioners and 143 English councils.
Counting started overnight in some areas with results expected throughout the day.
However due to the coronavirus pandemic counting is expected to take longer than usual, with most results coming in between Friday and Monday.
In Scotland, the SNP is seeking the mandate for another independence referendum.
Unionist parties are aiming to weaken Nicola Sturgeon by depriving the SNP of an absolute majority.
Welsh 16 and 17-year-olds were able to vote for the first time for the Senedd election.
Labour is expected to remain the dominant party in Wales but is facing challenges from the Conservatives and Welsh nationalists.
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Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds after voting on Thursday
11:46pm update: Labour's shadow business minister claims Tories 'parked their tanks all over our lawn' in damning election assessment
Lucy Powell, Labour's shadow business minister, has given a damning assessment of Thursday's election results.
Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Ms Powell claimed that Labour's 'red wall' had been crumbling for "20 years".
She said: "[The] people of Hartlepool and elsewhere are voting for change.
"We have been talking to ourselves too much... people want decent, secure jobs, close to their homes.
"We do need a new reckoning on the economy, we need an economy which works for everyone all over the country.
"We're facing a Conservative party which has parked their tanks all over our lawn."
The Welsh Labour party has extended its lead over the conservative Party according to Sky News' Ed Conway.
Although there ares still many more votes to be countedm the election story inn Wales is looking very different compared to that of England.
7 out of 14 London consituencies have already declared in the London Mayoral election, with Sadiq Khan barely ahead with 39% of first preference votes.
His main rival in the race, Shaun Bailey currently has 37% after leading in Bexley and Bromley, Brent and Harrow, Ealing and Hillingdon, Havering and Redbridge, and West Central.
Mr Khan who has been in office since 2016, led in the remaining constituencies of Lambeth and Southwark, and the North East constituency.
The seven other constituencies are due to declare on Saturday.
As things currently stand, the Welsh Labour Party has actually WIDENED its lead ever so slightly over the Conservative party. Still lots more votes to be counted, but the story from the Welsh Parliament elections is very different to the story of the English council elections pic.twitter.com/F0GNsZ4wlr— Ed Conway (@EdConwaySky) May 7, 2021
Labour continues to hold Cardiff West.
In a social media post, Welsh Labour tweeted: "Never in doubt – @MarkDrakeford has been re-elected. Great news for the people of Cardiff West and for Wales!"
First Minister Mark Drakeford won 17,665 votes (48.4%).
Conservatives only won 6,454 votes.
Oliver Trapnell takes over from Luke Hawker
9.30pm update: Results from 76/143 councils declared
Labour has control of 32 councils (-4) with 788 councillors (-174)
Conservatives hold 31 councils (+8) with 1,152 councillors (+161)
The Liberal Democrats hold one council (no change) with 223 councillors (-27)
The Green Party has 60 councillors (+40)
Independent candidates make up 108 councillors (+5)
9.00pm update: Labour hold Cardiff North
The Labour Party held onto Cardiff North with a majority of 6,593 and received 48 percent of the vote.
The Conservatives came in second place with 31 percent
8.40pm update: Labour hold Cynon Valley
Labour hold Cynon Valley in Welsh elections.
8.35pm update: Sadiq Khan loses first preference vote in Ealing and Hillingdon
Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey received the highest numberof fist preference votes in the Ealing and Hillingdon constituency.
Mr Bailey scored 79,863 first preference votes, ahead of Mr Khan, who scored 74,854 votes.
The Green Party's Sian Berry was third, with 13,041 votes.
Keir Starmer is under mounting pressure
7.55pm update: Recap after 66 of 143 councils declare results
The Tories has so far taken 1,037 council seats, an increase of 157.
7.40pm update: Tories gain control of Maidstone
The Conservatives gain Maidstone from no overall control
The Tories gained five seats in the council election, while the Lib Dems lost four. Maidstone has been under no overall control since 2014.
6.55pm update: Conservatives gain Cornwall
The Conservatives gain Cornwall from no overall control.
The Tories were up 20 seats and had 37 percent of the vote.
The Liberal Democrats were down 16 seats.
6.40pm update: Tories hold Clwyd West
The Conservatives hold Clwyd West with a majority of 3,685.
6.30pm update: Labour MP Khalid Mahmood resigns from shadow cabinet
Labour MP Khalid Mahmood has resigned from his role as shadow defence minister as he hit out at the "London-based bourgeoisie”.
In an article for the Policy Exchange think tank, he said Labour must recognise it is seen as "a party that has lost its way" in places that were once "unfailingly loyal".
He added: “"It is only by engagement on a local level, meeting eye to eye with voters and hearing their concerns, that we will fix that.
“I will be doing so not from the Labour front bench, but walking the streets of my constituency as a backbencher and talking face to face with the people I have the honour to serve."
5.50pm update: Labour lose Bebington council to the Green Party
The Green Party has gained Bebington (Wirral) council from Labour.
The Green Party's vote was up by 55.6 percent, while Labour's was down by 27.4 percent.
The Tories were third, down 11.4 percent.
5.30pm update: Labour holds Wrexham
Labour has held Wrexham in the Welsh elections.
5.15pm update: Starmer takes responsibility for election woesLabour leader Sir Keir Starmer has taken responsibility for his party’s humiliating local election results and insisted he is “absolutely determined to do whatever is necessary to fix things”.
He said: “I intend not only to take responsibility for the results, but to take responsibility for fixing things.
"I will set out what change is needed over the next few days, but I'm absolutely clear in my mind and absolutely determined to do whatever is necessary to fix things and to make sure we can make that case to the country in a compelling way.”
4.55pm update: Starmer says Labour will do ‘whatever is necessary’ to rebuild trust in votersKeir Starmer has said he will do "whatever is necessary" to rebuild trust in the party following its "bitterly disappointing" by-election defeat in Hartlepool.
Sir Keir said: "Very often we have been talking to ourselves instead of to the country and we have lost the trust of working people, particularly in places like Hartlepool. I intend to do whatever is necessary to fix that.
"This is not a question of left or right, it is a question of whether we're facing the country.
"We have changed as a party. We have not made a strong enough case to the country."
4.45pm update: Labour win Liverpool mayoral election
Labour’s Joanne Anderson has been elected Mayor of Liverpool following the second round of voting.
4.30pm update: Labour lose control of Sheffield City Council
Labour has lost control of Sheffield City Council in local elections to no overall control.
The party lost eight of the 21 seats it was defending.
Five seats went to the Greens, three to the Lib Dems. The Tories gained a seat from Independents.
3.55pm update: Labour lose control over Rossendale council
Labour has lost control over Rossendale council after losing three seats.
Labour now has 17 seats, while the Tories made three gains and are now on 16.
Other parties won three seats.
The council now has no overall control.
3.30pm update: David Cameron congratulates Jill Mortimer on Hartlepool election win
Former Prime Minister David Cameron has congratulated Jill Mortimer on winning the Hartlepool by-election.
He wrote on Twitter: “Huge congratulations to @Jill4Hartlepool on her historic & richly deserved victory!
“Also well done to all Conservative candidates & volunteers who have campaigned so hard these past weeks. @Conservatives continue to demonstrate how we are delivering on #PeoplesPriorities.”
3.20pm update: Second round votes being counted in Liverpool Mayoral race
The second round of votes are being counted in the race to become Mayor of Liverpool after no candidate reached 50 percent of the vote in the first round.
First round voting: Joanne Anderson (LAB) 38,958 (38.51 percent)
Stephen Yip (Ind) 22,047 (21.7 percent)
Richard Kemp (LD) 17,156 (16.96 percent)
3.10pm update: Conservatives hold Derbyshire – winning nine Labour seats
The Tories has extended its majority by nine - winning 45 of the 64 seats.
The Labour Party lost 11 of the 25 seats they were defending - winning just 14.
Lord Adonis reacts to Hartlepool by-election result
2.48pm update: SNP hold Dundee West
The SNP has held the seat with 61.6 percent of the vote in comparison to the Labour's 21.5.
2.39pm update: Figures worsen for Keir Starmer
After the huge loss in Hartlepool earlier today, Labour look set for a huge loss in the council election with the polls reporting a loss of 90 council seats.
The Tories have gained 76 on the Opposition and stand with 381 seats in total.
2.33pm update: Sadiq Khan and Shaun Bailey tied
According to London elects, as of 2.20pm the Labour mayor is tied with his Tory rival with 38 percent.
Sian Berry and Luisa Porritt are on eight and four percent respectively.
2.08pm update: Labour suffers more losses
Labour council leaders in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire have all lost their seats according to BBC Radio Derby's Chris Dodge.
Election live: Boris Johnson has praised the early results
1.50pm update: SNP holds Na h-Eileanan an Iar
The SNP's Alasdair Allan has won the seat with 7,454 seats (51.4 percent of the vote).
1.38pm update: Tory representative wins Montgomeryshire
Russell George has won the first declared in the Senedd election today.
The Tory candidate won 12,013 votes (48.1 percent of the overall share) while Plaid Cymry's Elwyn Vaughan won 4,485 votes.
1.19pm update: Lib Dems holds Orkney
The Lib Dems have held the seat with 62 percent of the vote.
The SNP, however, have held the seat of Aberdeen Donside with Jackie Dunbar selected as MSP.
1.08pm update: Jeremy Corbyn tweets
The former Labour leader said: "Tory gains are bad news for jobs, the environment & public services for the many not the few.
"With millions not voting, these results show a loss of hope.
"We must offer a bolder vision to transform people’s lives & give them the confidence to strive for a more equal world."
12.58pm update: Tactical voting benefitting Tories in Scotland
Tactical voting is benefitting Tories in Scotland, an insider has claimed.
They said: "It generally looks like the tactical voting has worked in terms of our supporters voting tactically in Labour seats or where the challengers are Lib Dems.
"It's early doors, the counts are taking longer so we are a long way behind."
12.48pm update: Boris Johnson praises early results
The Prime Minister has claimed the early results of the election are "very encouraging".
He added the reason for the uptick from the election is due to the Government focusing on "our priorities, the people’s priorities, and bouncing back from the pandemic as much as we can".
He will also visit Hartlepool later today after the Tories won the by-election.
12.38pm update: Lib Dems take Duxford
The Lib Dems have taken the Cambridgeshire council seat of Duxford from the Tories.
The Lib Dems took 48.3 percent, the Tories 41.1 percent and the Green Party who received 10.6 percent.
12pm update: Shaun Bailey takes early lead in London mayor race
Counting began at 11.30am this morning and has shown Shaun Bailey to have taken an early lead with 40 percent of the vote.
Sadiq Khan is on 35 percent, the Green's Sian Berry is at eight percent while the Lib Dem candidate Luisa Porritt is on four percent.
Election live: Counting will be delayed due to certain covid restrictions
Election live: Starmer leaves his north London home this morning
11.46am update: Tories hold Thurrock
The full results for Thurrock are now in and the Tories have held the council.
Indeed, the Tories have increased their share by six after winning 13 seats.
Those six were from UKIP while Labour won four which is no change to their overall number.
11.39am update: Conservative gains from Labour in Harlow
The Tories have won 12 seats in Harlow, an increase of seven taking their total to 20.
Labour received one and now stand with 13.
11.15am update: Labour criticism for Starmer grows
In what was one of the first attacks against the new Labour leader, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP for Kemptown & Peacehaven stated the strategy has not worked.
He said: "Good to see valueless flag waving and suit wearing working so well... or not?"
11am update: Dominic Cummings tweets
Commenting on Labour's poor morning, the former adviser said: "A measure of how bad KS is: until I googled yesterday I didn’t know who Shadow CHX is & when I looked at a photo I had 0 recognition, she never touched my consciousness in a year."
Election live: The Cabinet Minister seats held by Tony Blair's firt Government
10.31am update: Labour's strategy has not worked - McCluskey
Speaking today the Unite boss said: "Staggering and worrying loss in Hartlepool.
"The strategy of the last year has not worked. Disconnection from our heartland communities will only deepen unless they can look at Labour and see a party with clear, bold policies that understands and speaks for them."
10.19am update: 'Get on with it' Iain Dale snaps as Jacqui Smith deflects from GMB election coverage
Iain Dale snapped at fellow Good Morning Britain guest Jacqui Smith on Friday's edition of the programme as the former MP seemed to deflect from coverage of the local elections at the start of her appearance on the show.
Mr Dale, 58, and Ms Smith, 58, joined Kate Garraway, 54, and Alex Beresford, 40, on Good Morning Britain in light of the local elections taking place across the UK on Thursday.
To start off the debate, Garraway asked her guests to give their analysis of the Labour Party losing the hotly contested Hartlepool seat to the Conservatives.
However, the former Strictly Come Dancing contestant was more interested in being allowed back into the ITV studios but Dale wanted to bring the conversation back to politics.
9.56am update: Scottish Parliament election counting begins
Counting began earlier this morning for the Scottish election seats whereby 47 seats will be announced today.
From 9am on Saturday, the remaining 27 will be counted.
Scotland election is 'on a knife edge' says Ross
9.43am update: Dominic Cummings - Pundits were wrong!
In a tweet today, the former No10 adviser said: "When pundits who ‘explained’ why Vote Leave’s plan to realign politics was mad/stupid/impossible now give post hoc ‘explanations’ for why it’s all so logical/inevitable … ignore their babble.
"Pundits = noise not signal. Eg ‘the centre ground’ DOES NOT EXIST, it’s pundit fiction."
9.22am update: Jeremy Corbyn still the issue - Lord Mandelson
Speaking to the Today programme today, former Hartlepool MP Lord Peter Mandelson said: "Believe it or not, not on one door that I knocked did a single voter mention Brexit to me.
"The one thing they did raise with me however is Jeremy Corbyn - he is still casting a very dark cloud over Labour. Labour voters are not letting this off lightly, he still gets them going on the doorstep.
"One person said to me 'Sort yourselves out, sort yourselves out. You picked the wrong brother and you ended up with Corbyn so that's goodbye to you. When you've sorted yourselves out, we'll look at you again'.
"That is what the Labour Party has got to do."
9.19am update: Dudley results in full
The Tories have gained 12 seats on the council, taking the number to 46 seats.
Labour has now lost 11 seats taking the total to 24 seats.
9.03am update: Keir Starmer needs to be given a chance
Speaking on the Today programme, former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: "Keir's got to be given his chance and I've said that all the way along.
"I'm not going to be one of those people treating him the way they treated Jeremy Corbyn - always challenging him, coups and all the rest."
Election results dates and times
8.58am update: Tories take control of Dudley
The Tories have taken 21 of the 26 seats contested in Dudley in another blow to Labour.
Labour had previously held the highest number of seats in the council.
8.44am update: Sir John Curtice provides election update
Speaking today, Sir John claimed former Brexit Party voters had moved to the Tories, as seen in Hartlepool.
He added the realignment of British politics which started over Brexit is being continued today.
Sir John told BBC: "The Labour Party's strategy is to say as little as possible over Brexit.
"But the polls have told them it isn't working.
"This will raise questions over Labour's strategy going forward."
The polling guru claimed, working-class areas are now shifting completely to the Tories.
8.22am update: Labour holds Sunderland
Although the Opposition has held the council the Lib Dems and Tories made significant gains.
Election live: Boris Johnson was given a major boost with the Hartlepool win today
8.01am update: Pressure grows on Keir Starmer
The Labour leader is coming under pressure from those on the left with Corbyn ally and MP for East Leeds, Richard Burgon demanding the leadership change direction "urgently".
The pressure group, Momentum also said: "The leadership are reacting to this disaster by promising 'more change' - but over the last year we've gone backwards.
"It's time to change direction, not double down on a failed strategy."
7.47am update: Tories take control of Northumberland
The Tories have gained one seat in the council to take the majority with Labour losing one.
7.40am update: Shadow Cabinet member admits party 'hasn't done enough'
Speaking to the BBC this morning, Steve Reed, shadow secretary for communities and local government said: "We're going to see a lot more results throughout today and Saturday and over the weekend, from elections right across the country, so we'll have a clearer picture at the end of that period, and I suspect the results are going to be patchy.
"Certainly from my door-knocking - places like Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes, Hertfordshire - the reaction on the doorstep to me as a Labour campaigner has been a lot warmer than it has been in recent years, but that isn't enough if it's not translating into votes.
"So I think people understand the leader has changed, they don't understand the party has changed, because we haven't yet done enough to prove that.
"So the job in front of us all over the next few weeks, led by Keir, will be to get out there, re-engage with the British public, and reconnect our party so that we can show our party can deliver on the aspirations and ambitions that people have for themselves their families and their communities."
7.30am update: Labour holds Doncaster
Labour has held Doncaster mayoral election this morning with Ros Jones taking 59.8 percent of the votes.
Hartlepool result is an ‘earthquake’ says political insider
7.25am update: Hartlepool results in full
Here are the full results from all 16 candidates:
David Bettney, Social Democratic Party - 104
The Incredible Flying Brick, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party -108
Hilton Dawson, The North East Party - 163
Gemma Evans, Women's Equality Party - 140
Rachel Sara Featherstone, The Green Party - 358
Adam Gaines, Independent - 126
Andrew Michael Hagon, Liberal Democrat - 349
Steve Jack, Freedom Alliance, No Lockdowns, No Curfews - 72
Chris Killick - 248
Sam Lee, Independent - 2,904
Claire Martin, Heritage Party - 468
Jill Mortimer, Conservative Party - 15,529
John Prescott, Reform UK - 368
Thelma Doris Walker, Independent - 250
W. Ralph Ward-Jackson, Independent - 157
Paul Daniel Williams, Labour Party - 8,589
Election live: Jill Mortimer speaks after election win
7.08am update: Tories win Hartlepool
In a huge result, the Conservatives have taken the seat from Labour for the first time since 1974.
In full, the Conservative candidate, Jill Mortimer won by 15,529 seats while Labour's Paul Williams took 8,589.
7.07am update: Oldham council leader loses seat
Oldham's Labour council leader has lost his seat to an independent candidate.
In a statement this morning, Sean Fielding said: "While tonight is obviously disappointing, the electorate of Failsworth West have spoken. It's no secret that I have been saddened by the tone of the campaign both politically and personally.
"I have served Failsworth as a Councillor for nine years, ensuring local green belt is protected, reinstating local youth services and saving vital local bus routes.
"I have also been privileged to serve the borough as Council Leader for the last three years, steering Oldham through the unprecedented challenge presented by Covid and developing a new vision for the Town Centre.
"I'm incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve as a Labour Council during my time as Leader. All at a time of savage austerity cuts to vital public services."
"And I'm also proud that I've been ambitious for Oldham, the town where I was born and brought up, and where I still call home. That ambition is unwavering, although I'm no longer serving as Leader. The people of Failsworth and of Oldham deserve the very best."
Bill McLoughlin takes over from Oliver Trapnell.
Election live: Keir Starmer is expected to lose Hartlepool today
Mark Ingall, the former leader of Harlow Council, is "disappointed" after losing his seat in Harlow to the Tories
The Conservatives gained 12 of the 13 seats being contested in Harlow.
Mr Ingall said: "I am proud to have served as a Labour councillor and proud to have represented Bush Fair."
A Labour source has claimed that Sir Keir Starmer would “take responsibility for these results” as the party prepares for a devestating defeat.
The source said: "We’ve said all along the North East and the Midlands would be difficult.
“We also said the places declaring Thursday would be particularly difficult.
“But 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.
“People don’t want to hear excuses. 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.”
The Green party has gained from Labour in Reddish South (Stockport).
The Greens scored 48.1% of the vote compared to 34.7% for Labour.
The Green party were up 41 percentage points while Labour slipped 23.1 percentage points.
A Labour source told Channel 4 News: "Just because we have stopped pissing in the bath doesn’t mean people want to jump in with us straight away."
Speaking to Sky News, Professor Michael Thrasher called Newcastle "a stronghold".
He added that "Friday, Saturday, and Sunday is going to be a long slow process for the Labour party to accommodate the scale of losses they might suffer."
Labour held Newcastle, Sunderland, South Tyneside and Gateshead.
The count continues in Northumberland.
Labour MP Jim McMahon effectively conceded that Labour has not “got over the line” in Hartlepool.
Tories tipped for a big win in Hartlepool by-election.
State of the parties (in seats):
LAB: 100 (-38)
CON: 81 (+40)
LIB: 22 (+3)
GRN: 4 (+2)
5:30am update: Labour Leader of Sunderland City Council claims it would be 'foolish' to let Keir Starmer go
Councillor Graeme Miller (Lab), Leader of the Sunderland City Council, says it's been a "bad night" for Labour in Sunderland locally, "but it's not time for Keir Starmer to go".
He added that letting Sir Keir Starmer go "would an entirely foolish thing for the party to do."
He said: "We've had a bad night. That night has been caused by the complete collapse of UKIP and all their votes have gone to the Conservative party in the city.
"We've clearly seen the vaccine rollout has given the Conservative party a 10 point bounce on the vote anyway, so when you add those two things together, the Conservatives in Sunderland have had a very good night and the Liberal Democrats have had a very good night as well.
"It has nothing to do with blaming the leader of the Party which I think is entirely wrong."
Boris Johnson votes in Local Elections in London
The Conservatives won all nine of the seats being contested in Redditch, the first council result of the night, gaining seven seats from Labour.
There was no change of control, with the Conservatives holding 25 seats on the new council and Labour just four, losing both their leader and deputy leader.
The Tories have erected a giant inflatable Boris Johnson outside the by-election count in Hartlepool.
The giant balloon shows Boris Johnson with both thumbs up in anticipation of the Hartlepool victory.
Councils in Sunderland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne have been held by Labour.
Both towns are traditionally Labour voting.
UKIP have been completely absorbed by the Tories as the first results from Thurrock come in.
Lewis Goodall, Policy Editor for BBC Newsnight, tweeted: "First result from Thurrock. Same pattern- UKIP being absorbed by the Conservatives and a Tory gain from Labour."
Chadwell St Mary was the first council result to come in from Thurrock with the Conservatives gaining from Labour.
Tories also gained from UKIP in East Tillbury (Thurrock) with 42.8% of the votes. UKIP had no votes.
Sky News had previously reported that voter turnout in Hartlepool had topped 50% but the returning officer confirmed this was not true.
Local election turnout: 47%
Parliamentary by-election: 42.55%
Combined authority mayor: 41.71%
Speaking to TFM News, the Shadow Transport Secretary, said: "It's quite clear from the way the ballots are landing on the tables that we haven't secured the victory that we had worked so hard for, our volunteers have worked hard for and our candidate have worked hard for.
"It's quite clear from the ballots...that we aren't going to get over the line. What we don't know at this point is by what degree."
He added that Labour had led a "campaign with integrity."
Hartlepool voter ballots
Of the 28 seats up for grabs tonight:
6 Lib Dem
2 Newcastle Independents
The Conservatives now have a majority on Nuneaton & Bedworth for the first time since 2008 after gaining a seat in Exhall council.
Conservatives won the council seat with nearly 60 per cent of the votes (59.7%).
Labour had only 40.6% of the votes.
Conservatives were up 41.5 percentage points in Exhall compared to the previous election.
Jim McMahon, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, concedes defeat in the Hartlepool by-election.
The Labour MP told Sky News: "It's pretty clear from the way the ballots are landing that we are not close to winning this despite our best endeavours."
He added that it was too early to tell the results, simply saying "we'll see."
Hartlepool votes being counted
2:30am update: Labour did not expect to re-engage the 'red wall' in this election claims Shadow health minister
Alex Norris, Shadow public health minister said Labour did not expect to recover from the 2019 General Election loss within 18 months.
Speaking to The Independent, Mr Norris said: "No one thinks this process is over, no-one thought this would be done in 18 months - that would be a very unlikely situation, but we are on that road, we are listening to people and I think we are making progress from tonight and onwards."
He added: "We are going to take our successes as we get them with humility and then we are going to own where we fall short, because we are in a long-term project of re-engaging with people."
Sky News reported that the voter turnout in Hartlepool was "on the high side for a parliamentary By-election".
The Conservatives are confident of winning Hartlepool with majority of ‘several thousand’
One Tory source told the PA news agency that a majority of several thousand could be obtained, and while the result might be close, they would win.
Staff at the count have not yet begun to count the votes, which were still being verified.
Hartlepool votes being counted
The Conservatives won a landslide victory in St Peter's (Sunderland) as Labour lose another council seat.
The Tories gained 53.8% of the votes compared to 31.4% for Labour.
The leader of the Labour group on Northumberland County Council has lost her seat to the Tories.
Eight of the 57 seats have been declared in Northumberland so far with the Conservatives gaining two seats from Labour already.
Several other seats are looking to be tight.
Pollsters and bookies have predicted a "shock Conservative victory" in Hartlepool.
Chief political correspondent at Sky News, Jon Craig said "all the expectation is that Labour has lost" the by-election in a constituency which has been Labour since it was created in 1974.
He added "arguably Labour have blundered" by picking a Remainer MP in a pro-Brexit seat.
Hartlepool By-election - Ballot papers verified
The Lib Dems have snatched away Hendon (Sunderland) in a decisive victory, garnering 42.2% of the votes compared to 34.8% for Labour.
Earlier this evening, Labour sources told Beth Rigby, that Sunderland was looking "very bad" for Labour.
Sources speculated that Sunderland would end up in "some kind of Tory/UKIP coalition".
Results via Britain Elects
Emilio Casalicchio political correspondent for POLITICOEurope, tweeted: "Lab sources on the ground here in Hartlepool also reckon the Tories have 'well over' 50% of the vote share."
News sources are reporting that the Hartlepool result could be announced as late as 7am.
Cowpen (Northumberland) council result:
Lab: 47.0% (-6.7) - 398 votes
Con: 44.7% (+27.3) - 378 votes
Ind: 8.3% (+8.3) - 70 votes
No UKIP (-23.4) as prev.
Lab sources on the ground here in Hartlepool also reckon the Tories have "well over" 50% of the vote share. ������— Emilio Casalicchio (@e_casalicchio) May 6, 2021
'Judgement day' for Keir Starmer claims Sky News Political Editor
"Tomorrow will be a day of judgement...for Keir Starmer far more than Boris Johnson," claimed Sky News Political Editor, Beth Rigby.
Reporting live from Hartlepool, Ms Rigby predicted a reshuffle of the shadow cabinet in a bid to "shake up" the Labour party.
Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have thanked supporters on Twitter.
The Labour leader tweeted: "Huge thank you to all the incredible Labour Party members who have given up their time to campaign in these elections. You're an inspiration."
In a similar fashion, Angela Rayner tweeted: "As polls close I want to thank all of our fantastic candidates and activists who have worked so hard in the most difficult circumstances during this campaign.
"Our party always has been - and always will be - a movement built on people coming together to fight for a better world."
Oliver Trapnell takes over from James Bickerton
10.39pm update: Left has 'blind spot' on Boris Johnson
The left has a "blind spot" when it comes to understanding the public attitude toward Boris Johnson according to political writer Dan Hodges.
He tweeted: “Labour and the Left have many problems.
“But one of the biggest is their blind spot when it comes to Boris.
“In particular their failure to see him as the country sees him.”
Sir Keir Starmer pictured before casting his ballot on Thursday
10.15pm update: Hartlepool humiliation looms for Starmer - Ex-Labour MP condemns Remainer nomination
Sir Keir Starmer will only have himself to blame if Labour loses today's Hartlepool by-election - because the party opted to field an ardent Remainer in a constituency which voted heavily to Leave in 2016, Kate Hoey has said.
And the former Labour MP for Vauxhall - who now sits in the House of Lords as Baroness Hoey - said the “ridiculous” decision was evidence the party had left its core supporters behind.
With a poll earlier this week suggesting Labour’s Dr Paul Williams is currently trailing Tory opponent Jill Mortimer by 17 points, Sir Keir has admitted the party is scrapping for every vote.
9.55pm update: Nicola Sturgeon explodes at right wing activist outside polling station - 'Fascist racist!'
Nicola Sturgeon has angrily confronted a right-wing heckler on election day outside a polling station in Glasgow.
Nicola Sturgeon has been confronted while leaving a polling station in Glasgow by a rival candidate for her seat, Jayda Fransen.
Ms Fransen, who is running as an independent, has links with the far-right party Britain First.
Footage shows the activist march up to the SNP leader as Ms Sturgeon gathered with party volunteers leading fiery altercations between the two.
The First Minister stood her ground, branding Ms Fransen as a "fascist" and a "racist" as the row continued down the street.
9.35pm update: Sadiq Khan's election nightmare - Low London turnout sparks panic
Labour's internal numbers show in-person turnout for the London Mayoral election is far lower than in 2016, raising concerns within the party's ranks.
Figures suggest just 11.6 percent of the total turnout at the last London Mayoral election had turned up at polling stations by midday.
The figure is far lower than had been expected by the Labour Party, driving concerns of a shock result.