Labor’s Jeff Drayton has conceded to the Nationals in the Upper Hunter by-election.

At midday, the Nationals Dave Layzell was holding 56.3 per cent of the vote on a two party preferred basis.

Mr Drayton phoned Mr Layzell on Sunday morning to concede and later put out a statement.

“Obviously, David and I don’t agree on many things but we both have the best interests of the Upper Hunter at heart. I wish David and his family all the best as he starts this new role.

The National Party have held this seat for 90 years and we always faced an uphill battle to win it. I was proud of the huge support I received in places like Muswellbrook, Denman, Aberdeen and Sandy Hollows. Unfortunately, we couldn’t replicate those results in the other parts of the electorate yesterday.

Our result yesterday, particularly in Singleton, is a warning to Labor that we can’t take any community for granted. Working class communities are hurting and they’re turning away from this Government. However, right now, they don’t see Labor as the answer. Labor needs to do some real soul searching as to how we will win these communities back. It’s going to take honest reflection and a lot of hard work,” he said.

Mr Drayton says he’ll return to his role representing mineworkers and enjoy some time with his family.