While the SNP has stormed ahead in the Scottish Parliament election, sparking demands for a second referendum and a constitutional clash with the Prime Minister, Labour has suffered local and by-election defeats described by one shadow minister as “shattering”.
As votes continue to be counted throughout the weekend, the highlights so far include:
Labour’s Sadiq Khan has been re-elected as Mayor of London, after a much more closely fought contest than expected with Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey.
Dan Norris for Labour also became West of England Mayor, while the party’s Joanne Anderson became Liverpool’s first black female mayor.
Labour incumbents Andy Burnham, Steve Rotherham and Ros Jones retained their respective roles in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region and Doncaster.
Speaking on Sky News following the result, Mr Burnham entertained the suggestion of becoming leader of the Labour Party “in the distant future”.
Meanwhile, Conservative candidate Andy Street easily retained his position as mayor of the West Midlands, beating Labour’s Liam Byrne by 314,669 votes to 267,262, while Tory Ben Houchen was re-elected as Tees Valley mayor by a landslide, taking almost 73% of the vote.
– Scottish Parliament
The SNP stormed ahead of the Tories in the Holyrood elections, and Nicola Sturgeon hailed their victory as signalling the country’s demand for a second independence vote.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has insisted he would not support the “irresponsible” referendum, reacted by inviting Sturgeon for crisis talks on the Union in a letter shared on Twitter by Conservative MP Andrew Bowie.
At 64 seats the SNP is one shy of a majority, but placed well ahead of the Tories who gained 31 seats and Labour who won 22.
The Scottish Greens also celebrated their best-ever election performance, returning eight MSPs including co-leader Lorna Slater who said she will be giving up her job as an engineering manager to take her seat.
Kaukab Stewart made Holyrood history as the first woman of colour to be elected to the Scottish Parliament – something she described as “an honour” after taking the Glasgow Kelvin constituency for the SNP.
Meanwhile, the party’s former leader Alex Salmond has failed in his bid to return as an MSP for the recently-formed Alba party, which won just 8,269 votes.
Labour have come out top in the Senedd by winning 30 seats – just one short of a majority – equalling its best ever election result.
Welsh Labour put the “extraordinary set of results” down to the cautious approach during the coronavirus pandemic taken by First Minister Mark Drakeford, who has pledged to be “radical” and “ambitious” in the next Government.
The Welsh Conservatives won 16 seats, while Plaid Cymru has 13 and the Liberal Democrats have one.
– Local councils
At a stark contrast to the party’s performance in Wales, Labour’s shattering losses at the local council elections have thrown the party into turmoil.
Leader Sir Keir Starmer sacked Angela Rayner from her role as party chair after announcing he was “bitterly disappointed” with the results and vowing to fix their election woes.
Ms Rayner’s sacking sparked criticism from Labour’s left including former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, while previous leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested Sir Keir’s Labour Party was “offering nothing” to voters.
The party’s losses included Southampton City Council which fell to Conservative candidate Daniel Fitzhenry after nine years at the helm.
Meanwhile in Norfolk, election staff “limbered up” for the count by dancing to the Macarena, and followed the result with a Mexican wave.
By the close of Saturday, with results in from 129 of 143 English councils, the Tories had a net gain of 11 authorities and more than 280 seats, while Labour had a net loss of six councils and more than 220 seats.
In the words of shadow cabinet minister Steve Reed, Labour also suffered an “absolutely shattering” defeat at the Hartlepool by-election, after more than 50 years holding the seat.
Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer seized the seat from Labour with a stunning majority of 6,940.