Elections 2021: James O'Brien gives his instant reaction

7 May 2021, 11:39 | Updated: 7 May 2021, 13:47

By Fiona Jones

James O'Brien gives his instant reaction to Labour suffering early defeats as the election results count continues.

Results will continue to come in throughout Friday but early results across the country show voters turning their backs on Labour.

Most notably, the Conservatives have won key Labour seat Hartlepool for the first time in the constituency's history.

Tory MP Jill Mortimer's15,529 votes were nearly 7,000 ahead of Labour's candidate Paul Williams, who polled 8,589.

Read more: 'The people of Hartlepool aren't daft,' newly-elected MP Jill Mortimer tells LBC

The Tories took Redditch and Nuneaton & Bedworth councils from Labour in the Midlands, along with Harlow in Essex, while Sir Keir's party has seen losses in North East local authorities.

James reflected, "It is and always has been the case that the current Prime Minister excites the electorate, excites the population in ways that those of us who think that honesty and integrity matter find baffling.

"I can't condescend on this issue because I fell for it myself in 2008."

James branded it "one of the unknown unknowns", questioning whether the elections have been "a massive fail by Labour or a massive win by the Conservatives" or something in between.

He continued, "I heard Peter Mandelson earlier intoning the electoral history of the Labour Party since the 1970s which is lose, lose, lose, lose, Blair, Blair, Blair, lose lose lose lose lose.

"It sent something of a shiver down my spine, to be honest with you, because when you see it in those terms we essentially live in a one party state."

He questioned whether British politics is now a form of "popularity contest", reflecting that Boris Johnson is a "one off" and has "enjoyed great personal approval ratings throughout his career."

Read more: Hartlepool: 'Labour's got a big problem,' says former MP, as Tories win 'iconic' seat

Ballots continue to be tallied up across England, Scotland and Wales following the Super Thursday polls - the largest test of political opinion outside a general election.

Results from the Holyrood election - where the issue of Scottish independence was a main feature in the campaign - will come through later on Friday and Saturday.

For the first time in Wales, people over the age of 16 have been allowed to vote.

There have also been 13 mayoral elections happening across the country, including for London Mayor.

Across England and Wales 39 police and crime commissioner elections have also taken place, which had previously been postponed due to the pandemic.

A total of 143 different councils have also run elections to see who should represent them.