Lord Prescott has lost in his bid to be Humberside’s police commissioner, after being beaten by his Conservative rival, Matthew Grove.
His defeat dented Labour leader Ed Miliband’s claim that Middle England was “turning its back on David Cameron”, after his party won the Corby by-election on a 12.7% swing.
Andy Sawford’s victory by a margin of almost 7,800 votes was the highpoint for Labour in a day of results which was otherwise dominated by the poor turnout in elections to the newly-created post of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) across England and Wales.
The Liberal Democrats humiliatingly lost their deposit at Corby despite demanding a last-ditch recount.
The result was a blow for David Cameron as he struggled to defend the Government’s handling of PCC elections, which saw as few as 10% of voters bothering to cast a ballot in some areas.
The Prime Minister insisted the victorious candidates still had a mandate, arguing that turnout was always going to be low for new posts.
Even in the Humberside constituency, where Lord Prescott’s name on the ballot paper raised the profile of the election, turnout was only 19.48%.
The former deputy prime minister led after the first round of votes. But, after second preference votes were totted up in The Spa, Bridlington, the 74-year-old was overtaken by Tory local businessman and councillor Matthew Grove.
In West Yorkshire, Labour’s Mark Burns-Williamson won the post after going to second preference votes against independent candidate Cedric Christie.
He achieved a total of 114,736 votes to Mr Christie’s 71,876.
Mr Burns-Williamson has been chair of the West Yorkshire Police Authority for nearly 10 years.
In a speech following his victory, he said: “The Labour Party did not support the creation of the police and crime commissioner.”
He said it was now up to himself and the other PCCs to “establish themselves and legitimise this post by listening to everyone who relies on their local police force and by working in partnership with the other organisations.”
In Lincolnshire, former ITV Calendar presenter Alan Hardwick, an independent, beat the main parties to the commissioner’s post.
Fears of poor participation in the election of the new commissioners appeared to be confirmed as the first results came in, with Wiltshire declaring an overall turnout of 15.8% and West Yorkshire only 13.76%.
But it was even lower in parts of the county, where Tory candidate Angus Macpherson was elected, with only 10.41% taking part in Devizes.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper accused the Government of ignoring warnings of a low turnout and said the elections had been “a complete shambles”.
Police Minister Damian Green said it would have been “better” if more people voted, but added: “The measure of this policy is not the turnout, it’s what the police and crime commissioners achieve over the next few years.”
Turnouts were also low in the two by-elections that have so far declared - Manchester Central and Cardiff South and Penarth.
Both were held by Labour as expected but the Manchester Central result was marred by a turnout of just 18.16%, the lowest in a parliamentary by-election since the Second World War. In Cardiff South, turnout was 25.65%.
Stephen Doughty claimed Cardiff South and Penarth with 9,193 votes, while Lucy Powell won in Manchester Central with 11,507 votes.
In Manchester Central, the swing away from the Liberal Democrats was 16.77%. For Tory candidate Matthew Sephton, the result was so disappointing he lost his deposit as he only managed 754 votes, less than 5% of the total turnout.
In the Bristol mayoral election, the turnout was 22.93%, according to figures released by the city council. A total of 63,515 votes were cast from an electorate of 277,045.
In the election for the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner the turnout was 19.58%. Across the force area 243,963 people voted out of 1,246,031 eligible.
The Public and Commercial Services union said the low turnouts should sound the “death knell” for Tory-led calls for thresholds in trade union ballots.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Everyone wants a thriving democracy and better participation, but these low turnouts in the police elections should sound the death knell for the shrill Tory-led cries for thresholds for union ballots.
“We have consistently argued for reform of union ballots so instead of trying to score political points every time we have a vote, the Government should talk to us about extending outdated postal voting to the use of modern technology.”
Turnout across Surrey was also low, ranging from just over 12% in one borough to between 15% and 16% in others, according to returns.
(* denotes elected candidate)
Mark Burns-Williamson (Lab) 102,817 (47.88%)
Cedric Christie (Ind) 49,299 (22.96%)
Geraldine Carter (C) 45,365 (21.13%)
Andrew Marchington (LD) 17,247 (8.03%)
* Mark Burns-Williamson (Lab) 114,736
Cedric Christie (Ind) 71,876
Turnout 214,728 (13.34%)
John Prescott (Lab) 33,282 (24.88%)
Matthew Grove (C) 29,440 (22.01%)
Paul Davison (Ind) 28,807 (21.54%)
Godfrey Bloom (Ukip) 21,484 (16.06%)
Simone Butterworth (LD) 11,655 (8.71%)
Walter Sweeney (Ind) 5,118 (3.83%)
Neil Eyre (Ind) 3,976 (2.97%)
John Prescott (Lab) 39,933
* Matthew Grove (C) 42,164
Turnout 133,762 (19.15%)
David Bowles (Stop) 27,345 (32.66%)
Alan Hardwick (Ind) 26,272 (31.37%)
Richard Davies (C) 19,872 (23.73%)
Paul Gleeson (Lab) 10,247 (12.24%)
David Bowles (Stop) 35,086
* Alan Hardwick (Ind) 39,221
Turnout 83,736 (15.28%)
*Shaun Wright (Lab) 74,615 (51.35%)
David Allen (Eng Dem) 22,608 (15.56%)
Nigel Bonson (C) 21,075 (14.51%)
Jonathan Arnott (Ukip) 16,773 (11.54%)
Rob Teal (LD) 10,223 (7.04%)
Turnout 145,294 (14.53%)
*Julia Mulligan (C) 47,885 (58.25%)
Ruth Potter (Lab) 34,328 (41.75%)
Turnout 82,213 (13.25%)