LABOUR are suffering significant losses in the local elections as the first results start to come through.

In Middlesbrough the party's mayoral candidate was left trailing on the wake of Independent Andy Preston.

While in neighbouring Hartlepool, the For Britain Movement and  Veterans’ and People’s Party both secured a seat in the elections.

The Labour Party were left without a majority, and suffered several losses including two senior councillors, as numerous parties made gains in the council chamber.

Labour Councillors Rob Cook, chair of the planning committee, and deputy council leader Kevin Cranney, chair of the regeneration committee, lost their seats in the De Bruce and Foggy Furze ward respectively.

In De Bruce The For Britain Movement gained their first seat with Karen King, while in Foggy Furze, Lee Cartwright, from the Veterans’ and People’s Party, gained the seat.

In total 11 seats were up for grabs with the Labour Party winning three, Independent Union winning two, Independents clinching two, and The For Britain Movement, UKIP, Local Conservatives and the Veterans’ and People’s Party all winning one.

Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, said he was ‘devastated’ at the result and said it showed the ‘impact of a fractured party’.

He said: “I’m absolutely devastated. To have lost in my own ward, the clear message from the electorate is they will not vote for a divided Labour Party.

“The fact is we are still the largest party on the council, but all the years I have been leader of the council and when I was campaign manager alongside my husband [Stephen] we had a majority.

“As soon as the party is divided that has overridden control.”

The heaviest loss so far is on Sunderland council where there was ‘free for all’ at the polls which saw Labour ship 10 councillors, while breakthroughs by the Greens and UKIP saw both parties enter the chamber for the first time.

Labour lost two council seats in Newcastle and saw its share of the vote drop 10 per cent, as community party Newcastle First made history by winning its first election.

Liberal Democrat Gareth Kane also made his return to the council, reclaiming the hotly-contested Ouseburn seat that he had lost to Labour by just 12 votes last year.

While Labour maintains firm control of the local authority, with 54 of its 78 councillors, council leader Nick Forbes bemoaned his party’s stance on Brexit as the main cause of losses across the region.

The Northern Echo: Members of Newcastle First who secured a seat on the councilMembers of Newcastle First who secured a seat on the council

The local campaign group pledged to ‘bring a new style of politics to the city’ after taking a seat from the ruling Labour group in Callerton and Throckley, where anger over plans for a new opencast mine has dominated the agenda.

Labour have taken a bruising at the polls after losing five seats on South Tyneside Council.

The latest round of local elections was full of surprises as opposition parties and some independent candidates took seats with large majorities.

This included independent candidates John Robertson, Keith Roberts, Paul Milburn and Glenn Thompson.

And David Francis, who was elected to Beacon to Bents with a 1,072-vote majority, is now the first Green councillor to ever serve on the local authority.

The Northern Echo: NEW MEMBERS: Green Party candidate, David Francis, centre, was elected to the Beacon and Bents ward.NEW MEMBERS: Green Party candidate, David Francis, centre, was elected to the Beacon and Bents ward.