Politics

Labor All However admits defeat in Hartlepool by-election

TOLGA AKMEN via Getty Images

Labor nearly conceded defeat in the Hartlepool by-election after a member of the shadow cabinet admitted the party “was not close to winning this”.

Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon, who led the opposition party’s campaign to capture the northeastern city, said it was clear that Labor had not “gotten over the line”.

Such a humiliating defeat in a constituency where Labor has been elected for nearly 50 years will be a blow to Keir Starmer’s leadership after stressing during the Jeremy Corbyn race that he was the person who made the outfit one again victorious force made.

McMahon told Sky News, “It’s pretty clear in the way the ballots land that, despite our best efforts, we’re not close to winning this.

“We did not cross the line, that is clear from the ballot papers.”

Votes in the “leave-backing” constituency are still being finalized, but Tory candidate Jill Mortimer looks on her way to victory.

Hartlepool was held by Labor by a majority of 3,595 in 2019, despite other bricks collapsing in the red wall – in part due to the Brexit party’s split of the Tory votes.

Early results in other council competitions also showed voters are leaving Labor as ballots continue to be counted following Super Thursday polls in England, Scotland and Wales – the biggest test of political opinion outside of a general election.

The Tories seized Redditch and Nuneaton & Bedworth councils in the Labor Midlands along with Harlow in Essex, while Starmer’s party suffered heavy losses in northeastern local authorities.

The results of the Holyrood elections, which campaigned on Scottish independence, will be released later on Friday and Saturday.

Previously, the Hartlepool Parliamentary Contest was the focus and it remains to be seen how difficult it will be for Starmer to rebuild support for Labor.

A Labor source said Leader Starmer would “take responsibility for these results”.

“We said it would be difficult across the Northeast and the Midlands,” the source said.

“We also said that the places where Thursday is explained would be particularly difficult.

“But the message from the voters is clear and we’ve heard it – Labor hasn’t changed nearly enough for voters to put their trust in us.

“We understand that. We listen. And we will now redouble our efforts.

“Work must now accelerate the program of change in our party in order to regain the trust and faith of working people across Britain.

“People don’t want to hear excuses. Keir has announced that he will take responsibility for these results – and he will take responsibility for fixing them and changing the Labor Party for the better. “

Shadow Cabinet Minister Thangam Debbonaire admitted that the party’s message had not been carried through.

“We have a great team that can’t wait to cut through more and I hear what people say it doesn’t cut through, I understand,” she told BBC Question Time.

In a token of discontent on the Labor left, MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle appeared to make fun of the party’s attempts to change its image.

He said, “Good to see the worthless flag fluttering and the suit working so well … or not?”

In a token of discontent on the Labor left, MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle appeared to make fun of the party’s attempts to change its image.

He said, “Good to see the worthless flag fluttering and the suit working so well … or not?”

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