Labour has suffered a humiliating byelection defeat in Hartlepool after the party’s former heartland town elected a Conservative MP for the first time in 62 years. The Tories won 15,529 votes, with Labour recording 8,589, according to official results. Jill Mortimer defeated the Labour candidate, Dr Paul Williams, by 6,940 votes. Mortimer won the byelection with more than half of the votes cast (51.88%) and a swing from Labour of almost 16%. The defeat came amid early signs of a torrid night for Labour in the local elections in England, with voters deserting the party for the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and in some cases the Green party. Ballots continue to be tallied up across England, Scotland and Wales after the “Super Thursday” polls – the largest test of political opinion outside a general election.