SCOTS reacted as the traditionally Labour stronghold of Hartlepool went to the Tories for the first time in a Westminster by-election.

Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer secured 15,529 votes, while Labour hopeful Dr Paul Williams won 8589.

Her total number of votes was 51.88% of those cast, and represented 6940 more votes than her Labour competitor received.

READ MORE: Tories win Hartlepool Westminster by-election with huge majority

Labour sources say Sir Keir Starmer will “take responsibility for these results”, but took a thinly veiled swipe at his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, adding the party “has not changed nearly enough for voters to place their trust in us”.

Under Corbyn’s leadership Labour won Hartlepool with 15,464 votes, with their vote share down by about 14%. A major electoral change since then has been the collapse of support for the Brexit Party/Reform UK, which won 25.8% of the vote in 2019.

This morning commentators noted that the so-called “Red Wall” looks to be declining further, with the factors fuelling increasing Tory support in the north of England going far beyond Brexit.

Scottish commentators were alarmed to see the Tories have such a successful night in Hartlepool and other traditionally Labour areas of England across council elections.

“Nothing more can express just how different the respective parts of the UK are in how they want to be governed,” tweeted Pete Wishart, the SNP’s longest serving MP.

David Linden, SNP MP for Glasgow East, added: “Put yourself in the shoes of an undecided voter when it comes to #indyref2. It’s hard not to look at results like this & conclude realignment of politics in red wall seats clearly goes beyond Brexit. Waiting for others to end Tory rule for us is futile - Scotland needs a lifeboat.”

“Hartlepool underlining that the Union is more incompatible for Scotland than ever - damage the economy with a stupid Bréxit and be rewarded,” wrote Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil. “Onwards to #indyref2 pronto.”

SNP candidate for Moray Richard Lochhead posted the Hartlepool result and wrote: “Dear Scottish Labour are you Yes yet?”

Former footballer Michael Stewart posted: “Hartlepool has never voted for a Tory MP before. England has decided to go in a different direction and won’t be stopped by anyone. Scotland must be able to do the same.”

One user added that watching the Hartlepool results “makes me realise I’m quite happy I live in Scotland, what a disaster for Labour”.

Former Scottish Labour minister Malcolm Chisholm had a slightly different take. “Not personally giving up hope in UKLab but for many people it's (incomprehensible in Scotland) Tory ascendancy in England that reinforces and in some cases creates indy desire trumping all else.”

In Wales, similar sentiments were felt to here in Scotland. “Hartlepool means only one thing for Wales: it’s time to go our own way,” wrote Daniel Longhurst.