IT is a time for geographical and geological metaphors: this is a seismic result, especially here in the North-East where a tidal wave of Toryism has swept through County Durham and along the Tees Valley, turning red to blue, from the former steeltown of Consett in the west, through the ex-coalfield to the former steeltown of Redcar in the east.

Astonishingly, it is now possible to walk from Consett in the Pennines to the coast at Redcar without leaving Conservative territory. You can walk from Copeland on the Irish Sea to Coatham on the North Sea without stepping foot in a Labour seat.

It is astonishing.

It is a tsunami. For the first time since Bishop Auckland became a Parliamentary constituency in 1885, it has elected a Conservative MP – and a Conservative MP with an emphatic 8,000 majority. In Sedgefield, a 6,000 Labour majority was turned into a 4,500 Conservative victory.

It was almost an overwhelming tsunami. Laura Pidcock – a possible next generation Labour leader – in North West Durham had her 9,000 majority swept away along with her seat. Anna Turley in Redcar fell victim to the biggest swing of the night: 15.46 per cent, as her 9,500 majority became a comfortable 3,500 Conservative cushion.

Ironically, only the Brexit Party kept Labour’s head above the waterline and saved it from total wipeout. It can be convincingly argued that if there were no Brexit candidates standing in Sunderland, the whole city would now be Conservative; in Hartlepool, Mike Hill only kept afloat with 15,500 votes because the pro-Brexit voted was split between the Conservatives’ 12,000 votes and the Brexit Party’s 10,500 votes.

The reasons for this seismic change? Jeremy Corbyn has been toxic on the doorstep. One now ex-Labour MP said that at every second house he was told that it was impossible to vote for him because of his leader.

Most of the Labour MPs who have lost their seats locally were not Corbynistas, and it was for a second successive election noticeable that Mr Corbyn himself did not appear in our marginals. By contrast, Boris Johnson was in the Tees Valley three times in three weeks.

But the main reason must be Brexit. The Labour MPs who have gone are largely remainers who found themselves representing leave-voting constituencies. This left the party with an unwieldy and unbelievable policy over a fudged second referendum.

Brexit could be seen as a political enema. Mr Johnson has ruthlessly purged his party of non-believers – every one of his candidates signed up to his Brexit deal. His simple message, “get Brexit done”, proved irresistible to an area exasperated by three-and-a-half years of no progress.

Labour, by contrast, has yet to be purified – it was an implausible shade of grey, leave mixed with remain topped off by a neutral leader, whereas the world had turned black and white.

Perhaps there’s something more fundamental going on. The evidence at the Darlington count, at least, was that it was working class voters on the estates, Red Hall and Skerne Park, who were tempted by the Tories.

For 30 years or more, such Labour heartlands have been trying to break away from the old party, voting for an acceptable alternative as long as it wasn’t the Conservatives – a vote for them would have had coalmining, steelworking, shipbuilding grandparents spinning in their graves. Tony Blair cleverly saw this, created New Labour as a modern mainstream alternative to old Labour.

When that faded, people again flirted with leaving Labour. All heartland seats have seen sizeable majorities slowly whittle away over the last 15 years until, after testing the temperature through experiments like electing Ben Houchen as Tees Valley mayor, voters finally took the plunge into the blue water, pushed over the edge by Corbyn and Brexit.

It’s as if there’s a new modern mindset in the region: people have not worked in mines for decades, so now there is no need to vote as if they still do.

And how did Labour respond to that change, that call to modernise? It turned away from the mainstream and went backwards to the 1980s with a leader and an attitude from the 1970s. Labour last sunk to a defeat of this enormity under a left wing leader in 1983. It took 14 years to regain power.

The North-East was not alone in witnessing great geographical and geological changes in the early hours of yesterday morning. The SNP swept Scotland and there is no longer a Unionist majority in Northern Ireland. From a blue tidal wave sweeping across the red heartlands to the break-up of the United Kingdom, these are seismic times indeed.