The SNP has stormed ahead in the Scottish Parliament election, sparking demands for a second independence referendum and creating a constitutional clash with the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, Labour has suffered local and by-election defeats described by one shadow minister as “shattering”, while coming out top in the Welsh Senedd and so far winning 10 of the 13 mayoral positions in England.
As votes continue to be counted throughout Sunday, the highlights for each election include:
Labour has dominated the mayoral elections, so far claiming 10 of the 13 posts being contested in cities and metropolitan regions across England versus two seats for the Tories.
Closely-fought contests in London and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough saw the polls go to second preferences before Sadiq Khan triumphed over Conservative Shaun Bailey in London and Dr Nik Johnson beat Tory James Palmer with just 51.3% of the vote against Mr Palmer’s 48.7%.
Labour incumbents Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram, Marvin Rees, Norma Redfearn, Paul Dennett and Ros Jones retained their respective roles in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Bristol, North Tyneside, Salford and Doncaster.
Tories Andy Street and Ben Houchen also won landslide victories to retain their roles as West Midlands and Tees Valley mayors.
The battle to become London Mayor was much more closely fought than opinion polls suggested, and second-place Shaun Bailey said the contest showed that although journalists had him “written off”, he had gained considerable support from Londoners.
Incumbent James Palmer narrowly lost Cambridgeshire and Peterborough after gaining the most first preference votes – but not enough to secure his position before second preferences swung the vote in favour of Labour.
Celebrating her victory in a tweet, Liverpool City’s new mayor, Joanne Anderson, confirmed she was “the first black woman to be directly-elected Mayor in the UK, and the first female Mayor of Liverpool. History made.”
The first black woman to be directly-elected Mayor in the UK, and the first female Mayor of Liverpool.— Joanne Anderson (@MayorLpool) May 7, 2021
History made 🌹 pic.twitter.com/7WyNI01OCb
Sadiq Khan, who was re-elected as London Mayor, said:
The SNP claimed victory over the Tories in the Holyrood elections, and Nicola Sturgeon hailed their triumph as signalling the country’s demand for a second independence vote.
At 64 seats, the SNP was one shy of a majority, but placed them well ahead of the Tories who gained 31 seats and Labour who won 22.
New Glasgow Kelvin constituency MSP Kaukab Stewart also made Holyrood history as the first woman of colour to be elected to the Scottish Parliament – something she described as “an honour”.
The Scottish Greens celebrated their best-ever election performance, returning eight MSPs including co-leader Lorna Slater who said she will be giving up her job as an engineering manager to take her seat.
In a video posted on Twitter she was shown enjoying a victory dance at Ingliston Highland Centre in Edinburgh.
British prime minister Boris Johnson, who has insisted he would not support an “irresponsible” second independence referendum, reacted to the SNP’s gains by inviting Ms Sturgeon for crisis talks on the Union in a letter shared on Twitter by Conservative MP Andrew Bowie.
It's time to work together. pic.twitter.com/M3elTdWSD4— Andrew Bowie MP (@AndrewBowie_MP) May 8, 2021
Cabinet ministers Michael Gove and George Eustice have also hit out at Ms Sturgeon’s proposal, with Mr Gove telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that “a majority of people who voted in the constituencies voted for parties that were opposed to a referendum” and Ms Sturgeon “didn’t secure a majority as Alex Salmond did in 2011″.
Mr Salmond failed this time round in his bid to return as an MSP for the recently formed Alba Party, which won just 8,269 votes.
Speaking after the SNP’s return to power, Nicola Sturgeon said:
Labour have come out top in the Senedd by winning 30 seats – just one short of a majority – equalling its best ever election result.
Welsh Labour put the “extraordinary set of results” down to the cautious approach during the coronavirus pandemic taken by First Minister Mark Drakeford, who has since called on Boris Johnson to “reset relationships” with the devolved nations.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also heralded Mr Drakeford’s re-election as “showing socialist values win in Wales” in a tweet.
High-profile former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood lost her Rhondda seat to Labour’s Buffy Williams – though the party now has 13 seats in the Welsh Parliament.
On her Facebook page, Ms Wood said the result was “disappointing” but that her team could “hold our heads high in the knowledge that we ran a clean and honest campaign, we did not denigrate our opponents and we worked hard”.
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy shared a touching photograph of Welsh Labour’s health minister Vaughan Gething celebrating holding his Cardiff South and Penarth seat with his six-year-old son on Twitter.
Ms Nandy tweeted: “Amidst a difficult set of election results, it’s been lovely to watch some of the well-deserved celebrations amongst our Welsh Labour friends.”
Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford said:
In stark contrast to the party’s performance in the mayoral elections and in Wales, Labour’s losses at the local council elections in England have thrown the party into turmoil.
Leader Keir Starmer sacked Angela Rayner from her role as party chair after announcing he was “bitterly disappointed” with the results, and he will be reshuffling his shadow cabinet team on Sunday.
Ms Rayner’s sacking sparked criticism from Labour’s left, including former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, while previous leader Mr Corbyn suggested Mr Starmer’s Labour Party was “offering nothing” to voters.
The party’s losses included Southampton City Council.
In an unprecedented move for a party in power for more than a decade, the Tories had 12 net council gains in England and more than 280 seats.
Many of the party’s wins in England were snatched from Labour – which made a net loss of six councils and more than 220 seats – including Amber Valley, Harlow and Southampton.
The Conservatives also took control of some councils such as Cannock Chase for the first time.
Labour did make some gains – including Geoff Saul narrowly winning a county council seat from the Conservatives in Chipping Norton, in the affluent Cotswold area where former prime minister David Cameron lives.
The Liberal Democrats also gained one seat compared with the last elections after taking control of St Albans, with party leader Ed Davey set to make an appearance in the Hertfordshire town to celebrate.
British prime minister Boris Johnson said:
In Norfolk, election staff “limbered up” for the count by dancing to the Macarena and followed the result with a Mexican wave, as shown in videos posted by South Norfolk Council’s Twitter page.
Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer seized the Hartlepool seat from Labour after the party had held it for more than 50 years.
Ms Mortimer overturned a majority of 3,500 at the general election to take the seat – which had been Labour-held since it was formed in 1974 – with a majority of 6,940.
The importance of the contest was underlined by both Mr Johnson and Sir Keir making repeated visits to the constituency during the course of the campaign.
Mr Johnson welcomed Ms Mortimer to his government in a tweet, adding: “It’s time to get to work to deliver on the people’s priorities”.
For Labour, the loss symbolised another brick falling from its “red wall” to Mr Johnson’s Tories, in a defeat one shadow minister described as “heart-breaking”.
Mr Starmer said he was determined to address the problems within his party after candidate Dr Paul Williams lost the contest.
He said: “I’m bitterly disappointed in the result and I take full responsibility for the results – and I will take full responsibility for fixing this.”
Speaking after the result, Steve Reed, shadow housing secretary, said: