Keir Starmer outlines planned Labour Party 'changes'
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Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer is under huge pressure after the party suffered a humiliating defeat in the Hartlepool by-election. In a brutal blow, the Conservative Party won by a majority of 6,940 – a seat Labour had held since it was formed in 1974. Labour raised more than a few eyebrows then they chose Paul Williams, an outspoken Remainer, to be their candidate in Hartlepool where nearly 70 percent of people voted for the UK to leave the European Union.
Sir Keir took over as party leader in April 2020 after Jeremy Corbyn led Labour to one of its worst general election defeats at the end of 2019.
But Sir Keir, who has only been in the job just over a year, now finds himself facing a huge backlash, with Labour’s seemingly untouchable “Red Wall” crumbling around him.
Now Lord Adonis, who serves in several senior positions under former Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has sent a huge warning to the party.
Writing in The Times, he said: “All politics comes down to leadership. Labour’s problem is that it has had weak or terrible leaders since Tony Blair stood down 14 years ago, and until it gets an electable leader it will keep losing elections.
That is the emphatic verdict of Hartlepool and Thursday’s other defeats, following four general election catastrophes in a row.
“The only question is when it is acted upon. If it isn’t, no Labour seat outside inner London and a few other cities can now be regarded as safe at the next election.”
Lord Adonis delivered a damning assessment of Sir Keir’s leadership, branding him a “nice man and a good human rights lawyer, but without political skills or antennae at the highest level”.
He also warned the Labour leader now has a huge decision to make, adding the party could completely fall apart if it suffers another defeat in the next general election, which is scheduled for 2023.
The Labour peer wrote: “I supported Keir to replace Jeremy. There was no one else credible and retrieving the leadership from the hands of the Marxist far-left was the first step towards electability.
“I hoped that Keir, an effective ex-public prosecutor, might have sufficient leadership capacity and modernising social democratic vision to reshape Labour.
“Unfortunately, he turns out to be a transitional figure — a nice man and a good human rights lawyer, but without political skills or antennae at the highest level.
“The question now is what Keir transitions to and when; and whether Labour needs to lose another general election, to Boris or Rishi Sunak, before choosing a leader who can win.
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“If this happens only after an unprecedented fifth defeat in a row, there may not be much of a Labour party left, and some other political vehicle — maybe a populist one — could seize the anti-Conservative cause in England.”
Sir Keir has come under furious attack from Labour politicians past and present.
Labour MP Steve Reed, a member of Sir Keir’s top team, described the Hartlepool result as “absolutely shattering” and told the BBC: “It tells us that the pace of change in the Labour Party has not been fast enough.”
Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accused Labour of going into the by-election “almost policy-less” and called for a return to a “real grassroots campaign”.
He told the BBC: “We must never again send our candidates into an election campaign almost naked, without a policy programme, without a clear view on what sort of society you want to create.”
Diane Abbott, a key ally of Mr Corbyn, firmly pointed the finger of blame at Sir Keir for the Hartlepool defeat.
She said: “Not possible to blame Jeremy Corbyn for this result. Keir Starmer must think again about his strategy.”
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