Elections 2021: Who were the winners and losers in the Scottish Parliament, Senedd and local council and mayoral votes?

Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford, Anglea Rayner and Sir Keir Starmer, Boris Johnson and Jill Mortimer.
The SNP in Scotland and Labour in Wales were the big winners of the devolved administration elections, while the Tories triumphed over Labour in England. Credit: PA

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.

The SNP is one seat short of an overall majority after the Scottish parliament elections, but the final result still leaves Holyrood with a pro-independence majority.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, here's a round-up of the results so far:

Scottish Parliament

  • Winners

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.

On Sunday, the SNP leader and first minister said any move to block a second referendum would mean Westminster would be “saying the UK is no longer a union based on consent”.New Glasgow Kelvin constituency MSP Kaukab Stewart also made Holyrood history as the first woman from an ethnic minority to be elected to the Scottish Parliament – something she described as “an honour”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with the SNP’s Kaukab Stewart who is the first ethnic minority woman to be elected as an MSP. Credit: PA
  • Losers

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.

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″.

Ms Sturgeon has said she would seek a referendum once the pandemic is over.

When asked by ITV News when he thought any referendum could take place, Mr Gove replied: “Not now" and refused to be drawn on when one could take place, saying it would be a "distraction" from the UK's coronavirus recovery.

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.


  • Winners

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.

Mark Drakeford will serve another term as Wales' first minister after his party equalled their best ever results in the Senedd elections. Credit: PA
  • Losers

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”.

Former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood lost her seat in the Senedd elections Credit: PA

Hartlepool by-election

  • Winners

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.

Conservative Jill Mortimer addressed the media in Hartlepool after being declared winner Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA
  • Losers

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”.

Sir Keir 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.”

Sir Keir Starmer and Dr Paul Williams, the Labour Party candidate for Hartlepool Credit: Ian Forsyth/PA

England local councils

  • Winners

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.

  • Losers

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 Sir 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 Sir Keir’s Labour Party was “offering nothing” to voters.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has been demoted to Labour Party chair and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves has been promoted to the now vacant position.

The party’s losses included Southampton City Council.

Sir Keir Starmer sacked Angela Rayner after a poor performance for Labour outside of Wales. Credit: PA


  • Winners

Labour has dominated the mayoral elections, far claiming 11 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.

Labour's Tracy Brabin was elected as the first mayor of West Yorkshire. However, her appointment to the position will spark a by-election in Batley and Spen, one of few Labour-held seats in the former red wall.

Tories Andy Street and Ben Houchen also won landslide victories to retain their roles as West Midlands and Tees Valley mayors.

Sadiq Khan is hugged by one of his daughters after he was confirmed to have been re-elected as London mayor. Credit: PA
  • Losers

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.

Shaun Bailey gained more votes in the London mayoral election than opinion polls suggested he would. Credit: PA

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