The UK's Conservative party has won the election in Hartlepool, a northern English town which has historically been a Labour party stronghold.
Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer outran her close rival from the Labour party Paul Williams, getting nearly 7,000 more votes. Among 16 candidates who were standing in the by-election, Mortimer managed to gather 15,529 votes, while Williams received only 8,589.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thanked people of Hartlepool "for placing trust" in the Conservatives, while Tory party Co-Chair Amanda Milling called the result "historic".
"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," Milling said following the ballot count which ended on Friday. "I want to pay tribute to Jill Mortimer who will be a fantastic MP and will work tirelessly for the people of Hartlepool."
Meanwhile, Labour MP Richard Burgon, former shadow justice secretary, called the defear an "incredibly disappointing".
"We are going backwards in areas we need to be winning. Labour's leadership needs to urgently change direction," the lawmaker said on Twitter.
Incredibly disappointing defeat in Hartlepool.— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) May 7, 2021
We are going backwards in areas we need to be winning.
Labour's leadership needs to urgently change direction.
It should start by championing the popular policies in our recent manifestos - backed by a large majority of voters.
The Labour party has been in control of the seat since it was created in 1974.
Starmer has promised to bring the party to a new level, as Tories were tightening their grip on the traditional 'Red Wall' areas in northern and central England. But the latest victory is giving a new boost to the Conservative majority in the parliament and sending a nod of approval to Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson despite a series of conflict of interest scandals that have recently tarnished his Government.
The 6 May by-election was triggered by the resignation of Labour lawmaker Mike Hill in March, as Britons also took part in dozens of other local elections across the UK to pick up regional councils, as well as new lawmakers in Scotland and Wales.
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. 🌹— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) May 6, 2021