ELECTION 2017: Live blog from Northumberland

Keep up to date with all the latest news from the election here, as it happens.

Thursday, 8th June 2017, 14:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th June 2017, 14:46 pm
The country is voting in the General Election today.

We’re at the leisure centre in Blyth, where all four Northumberland constituencies – Berwick, Blyth Valley, Hexham and Wansbeck – are being counted.

This blog will be updated throughout the night, with predictions, pictures, results and reactions.

Armed police at the election count in Blyth. Picture by Jane Coltman

1.24am: The verification for the Blyth Valley constituency has been completed and the count will be starting soon. Turnout was 67 per cent.

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12.55am: Coun Peter Jackson, the leader of Northumberland County Council, says he doesn’t expect a ‘political earthquake’ here tonight as there was when the Conservatives seized control of the council last month. He expects there to be two Labour and two Conservative MPs come the end of the night.

However, he says that his administration and the local authority will work with all four, regardless of party: “We’re quite clear that we will put Northumberand first and we will do absolutely anything to further the cause of Northumberland and making it a better place to live and work and carry on business.”

He is sceptical of the exit polls suggesting a hung parliament and says even a small majority for the Conservatives, no change from 2015, would give the party a mandate to do what it wants to do.

The count is under way at Blyth. Picture by Jane Coltman

12.30am: Ian Lavery, the Labour candidate for Wansbeck, who is also the party’s national election coordinator told us that Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto has resonated with people who may not have been interested in politics before.

He said: “People feel that they’re included in politics and perhaps they haven’t been for quite some time, perhaps never.

“Lots of lots of young people are enthused in politics for the first time.

“We’ll see what the result is. I’m not saying anything other than it’s looking very positive and encouraging.”

Armed police at the election count in Blyth. Picture by Jane Coltman

He is also critica of Theresa May for calling a snap election on purely party political grounds ‘to try to wipe out the Labour Party’ and who is now facing a hung parliament.

Party colleague, Ronnie Campbell, in the Blyth Valley constituency, agrees on this, saying: “I think she’s going to be out on her neck. The Tory Part won’t tolerate that. She made a big mistake calling this election, especially when she insisted two weeks beforehand that she was never going to have one.”

On the issues that were important on the doorsteps, he said: “It was the health service, education for the kids, that cropped up a lot, but at the end of the day, I think we had the better manifesto.”

The Conservative candidate in the Wansbeck constituency, Chris Galley, is confident that he can fare better than last time, when he came second behind Ian Lavery with 21.8 per cent, pointing out that there was a time when the Tories struggled to get third place.

The count is under way at Blyth. Picture by Jane Coltman

He says that there has been dealignment in politics in the North East with days of total loyalty to a party going.

Steve Leyland, who is standing for the Greens in Wansbeck, says people in the area are interested in Green Party politics and how the country could be run.

In the constituency, he says the big focus would be the renewables industry in the Wansbeck area and wider region, which is a natural progression from its mining heritage.

Watch the full video interviews on our Facebook page.

11.30pm: Returning officer Geoff Paul reports a total of 50,460 postal votes have been returned for Northumberland. Seat by seat, that’s Berwick, 84.8 per cent; Blyth Valley, 83.8 per cent; Hexham, 77.4 per cent; and Wansbeck, 84.7 per cent.

11.02pm: The first result is in. Newcastle Central pips Sunderland to the post to declare the first result – a Labour hold for Chi Onwurah.

Shortly after, Houghton and Sunderland South declare the second result, also a Labour hold for Bridget Phillipson.

10.30pm: Armed police are on patrol at the election count in the leisure centre at Blyth.

10pm: The general election exit poll suggests the Tories will be the largest party but may not have a majority.

The NOP/Ipsos MORI poll for BBC/ITV/Sky survey taken at polling stations across the UK suggests the Tories could get 314 MPs, Labour 266, the Lib Dems 14, Ukip none and the SNP 34.

10pm: Well, that’s it then. The votes are cast and the polls are closed. Our team - Ben O’Connell, Jane Coltman and Ellie Lyall - is in place to bring you all the news from the Northumberland count as it happens.

We’ll be with you through the night. Get the kettle on, break open the biscuits and stay with us.

6.45pm: Not voted yet? Here’s a reminder of who’s on your ballot paper.

Berwick: Scott Dickinson, Labour; Julie Porksen, Liberal Democrat; Thomas Stewart, Green Party; Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative.

Blyth Valley: Ronnie Campbell, Labour; Dawn Furness, Green Party; Ian Levy, Conservative; Jeff Reid, Liberal Democrat.

Hexham: Wesley Foot, Green Party; Fiona Hall, Liberal Democrat; Stuart Miles, Ukip; Guy Opperman, Conservative; Stephen Powers, Labour.

Wansbeck: Chris Galley, Conservative; Melanie Hurst, Ukip; Ian Lavery, Labour; Steve Leyland, Green Party; Joan Tebbutt, Liberal Democrat.

2pm: Northumberland County Council is reminding residents who are eligible to vote at its at 228 polling stations across the county, which are open until 10pm.

Over recent weeks, polling cards have been sent to residents through the post informing them of their elector number and their local polling station. While it is helpful if the card is brought along when residents vote, it is not essential, so if you’ve mislaid it, you can still vote, as long as you are registered and eligible.

If you are unsure where your local polling station is you can log on to www.northumberland.gov.uk and type your home postcode into the My Place box on the top right hand side of the home page. This will bring up details of your nearest polling station.

Will Booth, elections manager at Northumberland County Council, said: “By casting your vote, you will be helping to decide how the UK is run. Voting enables you to help decide who represents your local area in parliament and it is their job to raise local issues and support you as much as they can.”