Labour faces bloodbath: Squirming Keir Starmer pleads for more time as leader ahead of predicted election-day disaster
- Keir Starmer has pleaded for more time to turn his party’s fortunes around
- Polls have suggested Labour is on course for disaster in elections tomorrow
- Meanwhile the Conservatives are set for a victory in the Hartlepool by-election
Keir Starmer has pleaded for more time to turn Labour’s fortunes around after bombshell polls suggested the party is on course for disaster in elections tomorrow.
One poll yesterday put Tory candidate Jill Mortimer on 50 per cent – giving her a thumping 17-point lead over Labour in a seat it has held since it was created in 1974.
Keir Starmer has pleaded for more time to turn Labour’s fortunes around after the polls suggested the party is on course for disaster in the local elections on Thursday
A Tory win would be only the second time a ruling party has snatched a seat from the Opposition in a by-election in 38 years.
Labour’s own canvassing data shows only 40 per cent of the party’s previous supporters in Hartlepool have pledged to back it tomorrow, The Guardian reported last night. The figures come from 10,000 doors knocked during the campaign.
Separate polls suggested the Tories will also romp home in two key mayoral races in former Labour heartlands.
In the West Midlands, former John Lewis boss Andy Street is projected to beat Labour’s Liam Byrne by 59 per cent to 41 per cent in the run-off – a huge improvement on his winning margin of less than 1 per cent in 2017.
The Tories also are on course for a landslide in Tees Valley, where incumbent Ben Houchen is expected to get 63 per cent support.
Tomorrow’s local elections, dubbed ‘Super Thursday’, are the biggest since 1973 and will be the first major electoral test for Sir Keir.
Voting is taking place everywhere in Great Britain – including for seats on 143 councils, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Senedd, as well as for 12 directly elected mayors and 39 police and crime commissioners.
Thursday’s local elections are the biggest since 1973 and will be the first major electoral test for Sir Keir
Sir Keir said it was always going to take longer than a year to fix the damage caused under former leader Jeremy Corbyn
Amid the gloomy polling, Sir Keir yesterday acknowledged his party had a ‘mountain to climb’ to rebuild trust with voters.
Defeat in Hartlepool would be a humiliating blow to his leadership.
Getting his excuses in early, the Labour leader yesterday said it was always going to take longer than a year to fix the damage caused under former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I hope we won’t lose Hartlepool. We are fighting for every vote there. I know that every vote has to be earned.
‘I said on the day that I was elected that it was a mountain to climb. It is, we are climbing it and I’ve got a burning desire to build a better future for our country.
‘I don’t think anybody realistically thought that it was possible to turn the Labour Party round from the worst General Election result since 1935 to a position to win the next General Election within a period of one year. It was always going to take longer than that.’
Speaking on the campaign trail in Wales, Sir Keir added: ‘We lost very badly in December 2019, and my job is to rebuild trust and confidence and reconnection with the Labour Party and that’s what I’m doing. That will take time.’