The SNP is gaining momentum and has just over 30 seats left to win a fourth term in government, but it is still too early to call whether the party will enter Scottish Parliament with a majority or rely on support from allies such as the Scottish Greens.
Nicola Sturgeon said earlier the prospect “hangs in the balance”, admitting it was always going to be a “very, very long shot” for her party to achieve a majority at Holyrood after early results suggested swings to Labour and the Conservatives in key Scottish seats.
Scotland’s first minister did however say she was “extremely happy and extremely confident” that her party was on course for a victory after some major successes including gaining East Lothian from Scottish Labour, and Ayr and Edinburgh Central from the Conservatives respectively.
Meanwhile, London’s mayoral election, seen as a two-man race between Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Conservative Shaun Bailey, is a lot closer than initially predicted. So far, it has been announced that Mr Bailey received more votes in the West Central constituency than Mr Khan, with 53,713 votes to 51,508. Mr Khan’s party are blaming a low turnout for the close margins.
In Wales, the Tories gained the Vale of Clwyd for the first time in the seat’s history. It was previously held by Labour’s Ann Jones since 1999 before she stood down ahead of this election, but was taken today by Conservative Gareth Davies.
Earlier, Boris Johnson’s party took Labour’s “red wall” stronghold seat of Hartlepool, winning the constituency for the first time since it was created almost 50 years ago.
Tory candidate Jill Mortimer won a stunning majority of almost 7,000 at the crucial by-election contest. Mr Johnson credited “bouncing back” from the Covid crisis, and “getting Brexit done”, for the early election successes.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been urged to “change direction,” as he faces a furious backlash from the left. “Not possible to blame Jeremy Corbyn for this result,” said Diane Abbott, a close ally of the ex-leader.