Hartlepool: Conservative MP Jill Mortimer wins seat from Labour
The Tories took the Leave-supporting North East constituency for the first time since it was created almost 50 years ago. Jill Mortimer secured a 6,940 majority, winning 15,529 votes to Labour candidate Dr Paul Williams' 8,589.
Ms Mortimer described her by-election victory as a "truly historic result".
Giving a speech after the result, the newly-elected MP said: "I am incredibly proud of the campaign my team and I have run in Hartlepool - it is based on local issues of real concern to the community here, and I would like to thank all of the people of this great town who have responded so positively to it.
"I'm also immensely proud to be the first Conservative MP in Hartlepool for 57 years.
"Not only that, I am the first woman ever to be elected as MP for this town.
The Tories have won the Hartlepool by-election
The Tories took the Leave-supporting North East constituency for the first time since it was created almost 50 years ago
"It is a truly historic result and a momentous day.
"Labour have taken people in Hartlepool for granted for too long.
"I heard this time and time again on the doorstep and people have had enough and now, through this result, the people have spoken and have made it clear it is time for change."
Co-chair of the Conservative Party Amanda Milling congratulated Ms Mortimer on becoming the first Tory MP for Hartlepool.
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Jill Mortimer secured a 6,940 majority, winning 15,529 votes to Labour candidate Dr Paul Williams' 8,589
Ms Milling tweeted: "Congratulations @Jill4Hartlepool!
"We’re delighted that the people of Hartlepool have put their faith in Jill and the Conservatives to deliver on their priorities: to bring the change, investment and jobs Hartlepool deserves."
Both Boris Johnson and Sir Keir made three visits to the North East town during the campaign.
The by-election was seen as a key test of Sir Keir' leadership after he took over from Jeremy Corbyn in the wake of Labour's disastrous 2019 general election defeat which saw its so-called red wall crumble.
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Labour had faced criticism for picking a Remainer as its candidate when Hartlepool backed Brexit by almost 70 percent in the 2016 referendum
But the party had faced criticism for picking a Remainer as its candidate when Hartlepool backed Brexit by almost 70 percent in the 2016 referendum.
Reacting to the by-election result, former BBC presenter Andrew Neil tweeted: "16% swing from Labour to Tory, biggest swing to government party in a by-election in living memory."
BBC Newsnight's policy editor Lewis Goodall said: "Lots of talk about the date or the candidate being the problem. Misses the point.
"Maybe that would have made the difference with a majority of a few hundred - this is a majority of 7000.
The PM pictured during a visit to Hartlepool
"We’re talking about a much deeper structural change and political failure."
The left-wing, grassroots Momentum group which backed Mr Corbyn branded the result a "disaster".
Momentum co-chair Andrew Scattergood said: "A transformative socialist message has won in Hartlepool before, and it would have won again.
"Starmer's strategy of isolating the left and replacing meaningful policy with empty buzzwords has comprehensively failed.
"If he doesn't change direction, not only will he be out of a job - but the Labour Party may be out of government forever."
The result comes after a shadow cabinet member admitted Labour was "not close to winning this".
Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon, who led Labour's campaign to hold the constituency, said it looked clear the party had not "got over the line".
Mr McMahon told Sky News: "It is pretty clear in the way the ballots are landing that we are not close to winning this despite our best endeavours.
"We haven't got over the line, that's quite clear from the ballots."
Early results in council contests elsewhere also appeared to show voters deserting Labour, as 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.
Hartlepool was held by Labour with a majority of 3,595 in 2019 - in part due to the Brexit Party splitting the Tory vote.