Votes have been counted after polling in three of our local council areas.
Sunderland was held by Labour, where UKIP failed to make the electoral breakthrough they were looking for, despite a strong showing in some wards.
Labour also held South Tyneside and Hartlepool.
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Ministers are ready to reduce the waiting time for Universal Credit payments following an outcry from Tory MPs, it has been suggested.
Three campaigners are occupying a work-over rig at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire to protest over plans to frack at the site.
Two people, a man and a woman in their 40s, have been arrested in connection with the incident in Harrogate and remain in police custody.