Results revealed in Telford as Tories take Hartlepool

Votes from across Telford and Wrekin were counted overnight

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer leaves his home in north London on Friday morning following the party's dire by-election defeat in Hartlepool.

In Scotland, counting starts on Friday, but a final result is not expected until Saturday or Sunday.

The Hartlepool by-election will be counted overnight, with a result expected in the early hours of Friday.

The defeat will be a blow to Keir Starmer's leadership of the party, after he stressed during the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn that he was the person to turn Labour back into a winning force again.

"It is a truly historic result and a momentous day", said Hartlepool's newly-elected Conservative lawmaker Jill Mortimer.

Earlier, Labour's shadow cabinet minister Thangam Debbonaire admitted the party's message had not been cutting through in the town.

Results from local council and mayoral elections also held on Thursday are expected throughout the weekend.

Her win continues the trend from the last election in December 2019, when Brexit was the dominant issue and Conservatives grabbed a string of seats across Labour's so-called "Red Wall" heartlands in northern England.

The result will ratchet up the pressure on Starmer, elected leader a year ago promising to rebuild the party and reconnect with its traditional voters. He said he had been told "you picked the wrong brother", a reference to the election of Ed Miliband in 2010 rather than his Blairite sibling and former foreign secretary David. Labour has not yet changed almost enough for voters to place their trust in us. "We need to quicken it up".

Australia govt bans arrivals from India, says offenders face jail, fines
Australia is sending over ventilators, a "significant" supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and oxygen concentrators. A wreath lies on the coffin of a Covid-19 victim prior to cremation in Jammu, northern India.

The balloon prime minister, complete with trademark scruffy blond hair, gave two thumbs up.

"We've got a great team who can not wait to be able to cut through more and I hear what people are saying, it's not cutting through, I get that", she told BBC's Question Time.

Johnson, who has been dogged in recent weeks by several scandals, has campaigned on his record as the leader who finally "got Brexit done", supported the economy during the pandemic and rolled out a successful vaccine drive.

The opposition party has also suffered losses in council seats across the country.

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.

"What has happened is that they can see we did get Brexit done", Johnson said during a flying visit to Hartlepool where he posed next to an inflatable blimp of himself.

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.

The SNP's leader, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, says she's is looking to push for another referendum if her party wins a majority in the parliament in Edinburgh, but only after the pandemic has been dealt with and the economic recovery from it is on track.

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