Election 2017 - Blackpool South

The count underway at Blackpool Sports Centre
The count underway at Blackpool Sports Centre

Labour party sources say they are 'optimistic' Gordon Marsden will retain his seat in Blackpool South with the count now well underway at Blackpool Sports Centre.

He held it in 2015 with a margin of 2,585 votes over Conservative candidate Peter Anthony who is also standing once more.

Blackpool South candidates Gordon Marsden and Peter Anthony among those scrutinising the count

Blackpool South candidates Gordon Marsden and Peter Anthony among those scrutinising the count

Blackpool's Labour council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said they had fought a hard campaign in the constituency,

He said: "I have been very surprised by the exit poll. The national opinion polls have been fairly consistent in suggesting the Conservative party had a significant lead.

"We were expecting Theresa May to win with a reasonable overall majority.

"But we fought not just two fantastic campaigns here in Blackpool, but I have also been heartened by the response on the doorstep in the seats I have been visiting up and down the country."

Following the arrival of the ballot boxes, staff have opened each box and the first responsibility was to verify the voting papers.

Blackpool South is expected to be the first of the two seats in the resort to declare - probably between 3am and 4am.

Five candidates are battling to win the seat - Peter Anthony (Conservative), Bill Greene (Lib Dem), Gordon Marsden (Labour), Noel Matthews (UKIP) and John Warnock (Green Party).