The Conservatives lost out on a historic overall council majority after an improbable tie between two candidates ended in a shock short straw contest.
The Tories were all set for a groundbreaking victory on the 67-seat Northumberland County Council, in a move that would have demonstrated the progress of Theresa May’s party in challenging Labour in its heartlands.
But with the Conservatives one short of a majority, the last seat, South Blyth, went to a recount on Friday - conducted by simply choosing straws.
The contest left Liberal Democrat candidate Lesley Rickerby victorious over Tory Daniel Carr. A video of the pair pulling straws has been shared over 700 times on Twitter.
But rather than being straw losers, final tallies confirmed the Tories as the largest party on the council, after gaining 12 seats - mostly at the expense of Labour. Labour has had a majority on the council since the 1980s.