Conservatives gain overall majority on Northumberland County Council after high drama at the count
The Conservative Party finally gained an overall majority on Northumberland County Council following a dramatic election night.
In unprecedented scenes, two seats were declared a deadheat after their counts and had to be decided by ballot draws – in scenes similar to 2017, when the last seat to declare was tied and decided by drawing straws, which the Tories lost, leaving them one seat short of an overall majority.
The Conservatives had gone into this year’s election looking to gain the one seat needed for the 34 seats required for overall control of the authority – and got off to a great start making inroads in south-east Northumberland.
Among the big scalps to fall were Labour's Deirdre Campbell and Ian Swinthenbank, plus group leader Susan Dungworth who lost her Hartley seat to the Conservatives’ David Ferguson following the first ballot draw of the night after both secured 868 votes.
But as the evening progressed, Labour clawed back, gaining five of the six seats they had lost, while the Conservatives lost two seats to the Green party.
In a further blow to the Tories, Berwick West with Ord was also declared a draw, standing councillor Gregah Roughhead losing on the ballot draw to LibDem's Elizabeth Hunter after both secured 409 votes.
At the end, it all came down to the last result, Prudhoe South, which Conservatives held to reach the magic 34 seats.
Thousands of residents headed to the polls, with 85,000 requesting postal ballots while stringent safety measures were in place at polling stations and during the count at Blyth Sports Centre.
To see how the night unfolded, read our election blog on our website.