London Mayor Sadiq Khan's win for Labour is bright spot amid heavy losses elsewhere

Khan keeps Conservative tide from washing over him

Labour's Sadiq Khan speaks after he was reelected and declared as the next Mayor of London at City Hall, in London, Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

Labour's Sadiq Khan has kept his position as Mayor of London after a day of elections in which his party colleagues were beaten across England.

In London, Mr Khan brushed aside Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey after second-preference votes were counted.

He had 1,206,034 votes, or 55.2 per cent, to Mr Bailey's 977,601 votes, or 44.8 per cent.

Britain's ruling Conservative Party made great gains across England as Labour lost more than 200 council seats.

The Conservatives also dramatically won the Westminster by-election in the northern England town of Hartlepool, breaking Labour’s decades-long hold on the seat.

Their success continued across the country as they won more than 1,500 English council seats.

In London, Mr Khan was able to keep the Conservative tide from washing over him.

“I’m proud to have won an overwhelming mandate today,” he said after the result was announced.

But London was “deeply divided" with the scars of Brexit “yet to heal” and “economic inequality” getting worse, he said.

"We must use this moment of national recovery to heal those divisions. Coronavirus doesn't care if you are a Brexiteer, a remainer or woke," said Mr Khan.

Despite recent criticism surrounding UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his party strengthened its grip in working-class areas.

Analysts said that success would secure the Conservatives' position in coming years.

The loss of the Hartlepool seat was a major blow to Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, who faced his first electoral test since promising to turn around the party after its heavy general election defeat in 2019.

By Saturday, Labour had lost more than 200 council seats.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 08: Conservative hopeful Shaun Bailey attends the London election mayoral declaration on May 8, 2021 in London, England.  The London mayoral and Assembly election takes place today a year after the emergency Coronavirus Act 2020 postponed elections across England. Labour incumbent, Sadiq Khan, is seeking a second term in office and is challenged by Conservative hopeful Shaun Bailey. This year sees a record-breaking 20 candidates standing and six million Londoners are registered to vote.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

England's first Muslim MP, Labour's Khalid Mahmood, who last month stood down from the party’s front bench, is standing by Mr Starmer.

Mr Mahmood told The National that he blamed the party's "London-based bourgeoisie" for it "losing touch".

"What we need to do is look at the reality of what the people we are there to represent is, and that is the real people working in the communities, who don't work from home, who actually physically go out to work in industry, cafes or driving buses, who continue to struggle," he told The National.