The Conservatives have won control of four councils and almost 100 new seats across the country, with the party making further inroads in traditional Labour areas in local elections in the North and the Midlands.
The Conservatives so far have won Harlow Council in Essex, Dudley Council in the West Midlands, Northumberland Council and Nuneaton & Bedworth in Warwickshire.
However, the party also lost control of the Cambridgeshire Council.
The results are continuing to come in for the 143 council elections that took place yesterday alongside a swathe of mayoral elections and the Hartlepool by-election.
The Conservatives were able to make considerable gains in a number of local elections in traditional Labour heartlands, like Sunderland, Newcastle and County Durham.
As of 5pm, the Conservatives have won a total of 440 seats – a net increase so far of 88.
Labour has won 297 – a net loss of 105 seats.
Traditionally, opposition parties tend to do better than the party of government in local elections, meaning these results will be seen as a disaster for Labour.
The results come after Tory candidate Jill Mortimer won the Labour-held Hartlepool in a crucial by-election by 23 points.
Tory incumbent Ben Houchen also stormed home to victory in the Tees Valley mayoral election, getting a massive 73 per cent of the vote.
Boris Johnson visited Hartlepool this afternoon to celebrate the victory and the party’s wider success in today’s local elections.
When asked about the Conservatives’ ability to make more gains in the Red Wall after 2019, Johnson said: “What happened in 2019 was that people mandated us to get Brexit done and to begin the process of uniting and levelling up.
“I think what’s happened now is they can see we did get Brexit done and to a certain extent they can see we delivered on that.
“I think what people want us to do now is get on with delivering on everything else. And so, number one is continuing the vaccine rollout – making sure we go from jabs, jabs, jabs to jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Sir Keir Starmer is already facing pressure from the left of the party to adopt a more radical approach, after the set of poor election results.
His team have said that he has not made enough changes and done enough to make a clear break with the former leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
Starmer said he would in the next few days “set out what needs changing”.
“It must mean stopping as a party quarreling amongst ourselves, looking internally and facing the country,” he said.
“Fundamentally we have to show we’re facing the country, that we’ve learnt the lessons of this bitterly disappointing set of results.
When asked if the Labour party faces an “existential crisis”, he said: “No, but the Labour party has to rise to the challenge of reconnecting with working people.
“We were set up to represent working people, we need to reconnect, rebuild that trust.”