Starmer asked if Labour has ‘lost touch’ after Hartlepool loss
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Sir Keir was pictured grimacing when he left his house in Camden after losing a poor set of results in local elections and the Hartlepool by-election. The Labour leader refused to answer questions from the media as he made his way to his car accompanied only by his security officer.
One reporter asked: “Has Labour lost touch Mr Starmer?”
“Good morning,” Sir Keir replied as he closed his front door, refusing to engage any further.
The former lawyer has been hit with a devastating set of losses across the country at the polls.
In a historic defeat, Labour lost its Commons seat in Hartlepool to the Tories in a by-election.
It is only the second time since 1982 an Opposition party has lost a seat to the Government outside of a general election.
Labour has also lost scores of local council seats to the Conservatives with more humiliating results expected to come later today.
Tight-lipped as he met the awaiting journalists and photographers outside his house, Sir Keir Starmer is understood to have travelled to the Labour Party’s headquarters to assess the extent of the losses.
He is yet to make an official statement addressing the embarrassing defeat in Hartlepool.
The loss is particularly bruising because Labour’s candidate in the extraordinary vote was handpicked by Sir Kier.
Dr Paul Williams was the former MP for Stockton South between 2017 and 2019.
A staunch Remainer, Dr Williams was seeking to be elected in a seat that overwhelmingly voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.
Ahead of yesterday’s elections, Sir Keir promised to “carry the can” for the results.
He said: “When things go right, the leader takes the plaudits; when they don’t go right, the leader carries the can and takes responsibility.
“That’s what I will do with these elections, as I will do in everything that the Labour party does.
“I’m conscious, the whole party is conscious, that this is but a step on the road to the next general election.”
While Sir Keir is yet to speak out today, members of his shadow cabinet have described the incoming results as “heartbreaking”.
Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed admitted it the Hartlepool loss was an “absolutely shattering” result as another brick in the party’s once impregnable “red wall” crumbled.
He added: “What this shows is that, although we have started to change since the cataclysm of the last general election, that change has clearly not gone far enough in order to win back the trust of the voters.”
However, MPs on the Left of the party have already started to blame the leadership for not being radical enough in its offering to voters, pointing to the fact Hartlepool was won twice by Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
They are demanding an urgent change of direction from Sir Keir.
former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, a close ally of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, said on social media: “Crushing defeat for Labour in Hartlepool. Not possible to blame Jeremy Corbyn for this result.
“Labour won the seat twice under his leadership. Keir Starmer must think again about his strategy.”
Former shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said: “We are going backwards in areas we need to be winning.”
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