THURSDAY'S local elections were a disaster for Labour across many parts of the UK, and perhaps nowhere more so than in the North-East.

The party was defeated in Hartlepool where it had ruled since the parliamentary constituency was formed in 1974, seats were lost in councils across the region, and hopes of overturning its 2017 Tees Valley Mayor loss – which started the Conservative’s Tees Valley blue wave – were shattered when Ben Houchen was re-elected with an astonishing 73 per cent of the vote.

And Saturday saw perhaps the most historic result of them all, as Labour lost its majority on Durham County Council for the first time in more than 100 years.

Even with Brexit resolved and Jeremy Corbyn gone, voters are still deserting the party in their thousands. So where does Labour go from here? How can it rebuild the trust in its former heartland and return to power?

In 2015, Anna Turley was elected Redcar MP for the first time with a 10,000 majority, but four years later, her seat would turn blue in the Tory tsunami that swept across the North.

Writing exclusively for the Northern Echo in the first of a series of special reports this week into Labour’s future, in which Labour figures past and present will analyse the party's situation, she calls for a total reset of what the party stands for and demands a ruthless focus on what the public want.

Ms Turley said: "Labour has allowed itself to become introspective, self-indulgent, disconnected and self-righteous

"A party that refuses to acknowledge the achievements of its last government is unlikely to convince people to vote for its next one.

"And one that waves the Palestinian flag from its conference floor but baulks at the flag of its own country will never convince people it is fit to govern.

"It must understand aspiration, embody local pride and celebrate success."