ELECTION 2017: Live blog from Northumberland

Northumberland General Election count 2017
Northumberland General Election count 2017

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

We’re at the leisure centre in Blyth, where all four Northumberland constituencies – Berwick, Blyth Valley, Hexham and Wansbeck – will be counted. This blog will be updated throughout the night, with predictions, pictures, results and reactions.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan wins her seat at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Anne-Marie Trevelyan wins her seat at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

6.40am: And that’s it! About eight-and-a-half hours after the count started, the sports hall at Blyth is pretty much empty and we are heading home after a night of few surprises, at least in Northumberland, as Labour’s Ian Lavery and Ronnie Campbell and Conservatives Guy Opperman and Anne-Marie Trevelyan were all re-elected.

6.10am: Berwick is held by Conservative Anne-Marie Trevelyan with 22,145 votes followed by Scott Dickinson (Labour) 10,364; Julie Porksen (Liberal Democrat) 8,916; Thomas Stewart (Green) 787.

5.45am: Hexham is held by Conservative Guy Opperman with 24,996 votes followed by Stephen Powers (Labour) 15.760; Fiona Hall (Liberal Democrat) 3,285; Wesley Foot (Green) 1,253; Stuart Miles (Ukip) 930.

5.15am: Wansbeck is held by Labour’s Ian Lavery with 24,338 votes followed by Chris Galley (Conservative) 13,903; Joan Tebbutt (Liberal Democrat) 2,015; Melanie Hurst (Ukip) 1,483; Steve Leyland (Green) 715.

Guy Opperman wins the Hexham seat at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Guy Opperman wins the Hexham seat at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

4.15am: Blyth Valley is held by Labour’s Ronnie Campbell with 23,770 votes followed by Ian Levy (Conservative) 15,855; Jeff Reid (Liberal Democrat) 1,947; Dawn Furness (Green) 918.

4am: The main count is finally under way for the Berwick constituency and the Blyth Valley result is expected soon.

3.20am: Verification has finished for the Hexham constituency, but is still under way for the Berwick constituency. Main counts in progress for Blyth Valley and Wansbeck.

2.40am: Both North Tyneside and Tynemouth seats held by Labour.

Ian Lavery wins the Wansbeck seat at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Ian Lavery wins the Wansbeck seat at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

North Tyneside: Mary Glindon (Labour) 33,456; Henry Newman (Conservative) 14,172; Gary Legg (Ukip) 2,101; Greg Stone (Liberal Democrat) 1,494; Martin Collins (Green) 669.

Tynemouth: Alan Campbell (Labour) 32,395; Nick Varley (Conservative) 20,729; John Appleby (Liberal Democrat) 1,724; Stuart Houghton (Ukip) 1,257; Anthony Jull (Durham Cobbler) 124.

2.35am: Turnouts in the four Northumberland constituencies: Berwick – 71.5%, Blyth – 67.1%, Hexham – 75.1%, Wansbeck – 68.4%. Verification completed in Wansbeck and almost in Hexham so main counts will be starting soon.

2.10am: Conservative candidate for the Berwick constituency, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, says it’s been a really positive campaign and that she is pleased to see a very high turnout.She said dualling the A1, broadband and Brexit were key issues on the doorstep. Farmers ‘want a strong Brexit, negotiated well’, she adds.

A victorious Ronnie Campbell at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

A victorious Ronnie Campbell at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

On the national picture, she says the exit poll was shown to be ‘wobbly if that’s the word of the night’ because the Conservative vote was performing well, even in North-East Labour seats. Mrs Trevelyan also says that the Conservatives were never complacent going into the campaign and that she understands why Prime Minister Theresa May called the snap election.

Labour candidate Scott Dickinson says his campaign has gone as well as it could given the timescale and the resources, adding that school funding and jobs were among the biggest issues on the doorstep. He too is pleased what appears to be a high turnout.

On Jeremy Corbyn, he says that at the start of the campaign, people didn’t necessarily see him as a leader, but this was very different by the end of the campaign.

He doesn’t feel that the Lib Dems ran as strong a campaign in the constituency as they did in 2015 and says that a hung parliament, as predicted by the exit poll, would not be good for the country given the issues that need strong leadership.

“Nobody asked for this election,” he adds. “It looks like it might have backfired on her, she’s not going to get what she wanted, according to the exit poll.”

Lib Dem Julie Porksen says there’s a lot of concerns about the NHS and the dementia tax on the doorsteps. “There’s a real worry that if the Conservatives are running the next Government, we won’t have an NHS when they’re finished.”

Julie Porksen at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Julie Porksen at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

In contrast to Mrs Trevelyan, she says Brexit has hardly been raised as an issue, other than in hustings when environmental protections and farmers raised concerns.

‘It’s hard to tell’ what may happen over the course of the night, she says. “If we (the Lib Dems) increase the number of seats that would be brilliant.”

Watch the full interviews on our Facebook page.

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

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 Northumberland 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.

Watch the full interview on our Facebook page.

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.”

He is also critical 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 Party 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.

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.”

Here is a reminder of how you voted in the last General Election in 2015:

BERWICK: Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Conservative) 16,603; Julie Porksen (Lib Dem) 11,689; Scott Dickinson (Labour) 6,042; Nigel Coghill-Marshall (Ukip) 4,513; Rachael Roberts (Green) 1,488; Neil Humphrey (English Democrat) 88. Conservative majority: 4,914. Turnout: 69.6%

BLYTH VALLEY: Ronnie Campbell (Labour) 17,813; Barry Elliott (Ukip) 8,584; Greg Munro (Conservative) 8,346; Philip Latham (Lib Dem) 2,265. Labour majority: 9,229. Turnout: 60.1%

HEXHAM: Guy Opperman (Conservative) 22,834; Liam Carr (Labour) 10,803; David Nicholson (Ukip) 4,302; Jeff Reid (Lib Dem) 2,961; Lee Williscroft-Ferris (Green) 2,445. Conservative majority: 12,031. Turnout: 71.5%

WANSBECK: Ian Lavery (Labour) 19,267; Chris Galley (Conservative) 8,386; Melanie Hurst (Ukip) 7,014; Tom Hancock (Lib Dem) 2,407; Christopher Hedley (Green) 1,454. Labour majority: 10,881. Turnout: 63.6%

Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Scott Dickinson at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Scott Dickinson at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Peter Jackson at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Peter Jackson at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Ronnie Campbell, Blyth Valley Labour candidate for General Election 2017 at the count in Blyth Sports Centre

Ronnie Campbell, Blyth Valley Labour candidate for General Election 2017 at the count in Blyth Sports Centre

Ian Lavery, Labour candidate for Wansbeck in Blyth Sports Centre for the Northumberland General Election count 2017

Ian Lavery, Labour candidate for Wansbeck in Blyth Sports Centre for the Northumberland General Election count 2017