NORTHUMBERLAND ELECTION 2017: Live blog

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

Friday, 5th May 2017, 12:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:21 pm
Ballot boxes at the Northumberland County Council election count in Hexham.

We will be live at the count in Hexham and regularly updating this blog throughout the night, with predictions, pictures, results, reaction and more. The full results will be posted here as they are declared.

1.15am: The ballot boxes from north Northumberland are here - but it might be some time until they open them!

1.10am: Liberal Democrat candidate Jeff Reid, who has been leader of the group, said: “We have modest ambitions, but I think we will fulfill them and gain seats. The key issues raised in my division during the campaign include the cost of moving County Hall to Ashington, which has really riled people up as they compare that with calling up the council and not getting a reply or asking for something to be taken away and it isn’t done.”

12.30am: The last box will get here at Wentworth Leisure Centre, from Holy Island. The island, was cut off by the causeway last night at 9.20pm and won’t reopen until 1.30am, when the votes from there will be brought to Hexham.

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12.25am: The latest announcement from Geoff Paul, the returning officer, who said that there were a large number of postal votes handed in at polling stations today. They have to be opened, verified and then added to the divisions before counting proper can start. The opening of boxes previously has been to verify that there are the right number of ballot papers for each division.

12.10am: Conservative candidates, and husband and wife, Jeff and June Watson are both feeling positive about tonight’s result. Jeff, standing for Amble West with Warkworth, said: “I am fairly confident. It was very close last time with just one vote in it. But I’ve been in the seat for four years now and more people know me so we will see what happens.” June, standing for Mable with Togston, added: “I’m very positive. I’ve had a good response and people have been very supportive.”

12.05am: Conservative candidate Peter Jackson, who has been leader of the group, is hopeful of a good night for his party. He said: “We’ve put 100 per cent effort into this campaign up and down Northumberland and we think Northumberland is ready for a change. The people of the county absolutely hate the idea of wasting so much money on a new council headquarters in Ashington.”

11.50pm: Labour candidates Grant Davey and James Matthewson have shared their views. Mr Davey, who has been leader of the Labour-run administration, said: “We have put a lot of effort in so it would be nice to think we can get to the position we were before and maybe add a few more.” Mr Matthewson, standing for the Alnwick ward, said that polling day was exhausting, but good. Meanwhile, Robbie Moore, who is one of the Conservative candidates for Alnwick, said that if he is elected, the ‘absolute key is bringing back much more localised decision making to the ward.’

11.45pm: Numerous counts have started.

11.15pm: The count has started for Ponteland East and Stannington.

11.10pm: The count has started for Haltwhistle and Corbridge.

11.05pm: Gordon Castle, conservative candidate for the Alnwick ward, says he is always prepared for the worst but is hoping for the best, while Scott Dickinson, Labour candidate for Druridge Bay says he is feeling very good and local people have been very supportive.

10.55pm: The ballot boxes are arriving, while councillors and their supporters are queuing to get inside.

10.40pm: The polls have closed and the count at Hexham is about to start. Your reporting team tonight - Helen Millichamp, Andrew Coulson and James Willoughby - are logged on, surrounded by coffee and sweets, ready to keep you up-to-date with the news, views and results as they happen.

3.35pm: Residents throughout the county have been casting their votes ahead of the through-the-night count at Hexham’s Wentworth Leisure Centre. The polls close at 10pm.