But early results from England on Friday showed that the Conservatives had won a landslide in the parliamentary seat of Hartlepool in the northeast, a bitter blow to the opposition Labour Party and its leader Keir Starmer.
In Scotland, counting starts on Friday, but a final result is not expected until Saturday or Sunday.
THE UK LABOUR party has lost the Hartlepool by-election, a constituency it has held for nearly 50 years.
Even before the election, Labour leader Keir Starmer was already making excuses-telling reporters that the party had a "mountain to climb" after the 2019 general election.
"It is a truly historic result and a momentous day", said Hartlepool's newly-elected Conservative lawmaker Jill Mortimer.
Voting also took place Thursday for local councils in England, regional mayors including in London, and for the devolved assemblies in Wales and Scotland. They-and Labour right wingers-are touting it as proof that Labour has lost the support of working class people because it is too left wing.
Earlier, Labour's shadow cabinet minister Thangam Debbonaire admitted the party's message had not been cutting through in the town.
The result will ratchet up the pressure on Starmer, elected leader a year ago promising to rebuild the party and reconnect with its traditional voters.
Managing to present themselves as the party of change despite having led the United Kingdom for 11 years, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives extended their grip on parts of the country that had been Labour strongholds for decades, if not a century, and which voted heavily for Britain's departure from the European Union in 2016. We are going backwards in areas we need to be winning.
The balloon prime minister, complete with trademark scruffy blond hair, gave two thumbs up. It is, we are climbing it and I've got a burning desire to build a better future for our country.
With the elections being seen as the first test of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, the early defeat in the Hartlepool by-election has reignited a fierce internal debate about the party's direction.
"Let's not forget: Johnson delivered Brexit, the PM is popular among Leave voters, the Tory govt spent staggering amounts of £ in the pandemic and overseen an amazingly successful vaccine rollout", Jane Green, Oxford University politics professor, said on Twitter.
Dubbed Super Thursday, polls closed at 10pm last night in the largest test of political opinion outside a general election in almost 50 years. Further results are expected later Friday but many may not come until the weekend.
The Scottish Tory vote increased in several constituencies, notably in Perthshire North, where Murdo Fraser increased the Conservative vote by 2,670 but John Swinney, the defending SNP deputy minister, saw his vote go up by 3,334, giving him an increased majority of 4,053.
In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon's SNP is hoping for an overall majority, which she said she will see as a mandate to hold a second independence referendum, which risks splitting up the United Kingdom.