Local elections: Sir Keir Starmer admits Labor has ‘a mountain to climb’ as polls show party lags in key races | Political news
Sir Keir Starmer admitted Labor still had “a mountain to climb” to win back voters ahead of this week’s local election – as some polls have shown his party to be behind the Tories in key races.
On Thursday, people in England, Scotland and Wales will go to the polls in a series of exceptional elections, many of which are postponed to 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
This will be the first electoral test of Sir keirthe leadership of Labor, since he became party leader last April, when voters will also deliver their verdict on Boris Johnsonof Preservatives following their handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Prior to what has been dubbed ‘Super Thursday’, some polls released on Tuesday showed Labor following the Tories in top contests.
Days away from the Westminster by-elections at Hartlepool, a Survation poll put the Tories at 50% – 17 points ahead of the Labor Party in a seat it has held since its inception in 1974.
The seat was one of the few ‘red wall’ strongholds that Labor managed to hold onto in the 2019 general election, though Tories hope a collapse in support for the Brexit party will help them conquer the constituency this year. this time.
Meanwhile, an Opinium investigation showed Tory candidate Andy Street would easily triumph in the West Midlands mayor election over Labor candidate Liam Byrne.
And the same polls also showed that the Conservatives’ Ben Houchen would retain his post as mayor of Tees Valley in the face of the Labor challenge of their candidate Jessie-Joe Jacobs.
A YouGov poll released over the weekend also suggested Labor could lose local council seats to Tories in ‘red wall’ council areas.
Asked about recent disappointing polls for that party, Sir Keir told Sky News his party had “a mountain to climb” since their “devastating” defeat in the general election.
“It is undeniable that we lost very badly in the last general election in December 2019 – the worst loss we have had since 1935,” he said.
“My job as leader of the Labor Party is to rebuild our party, to reconnect with the public, to restore confidence – it will take time.
“But the most important thing is that I make it clear that I understand that every vote should be earned, which is why I traveled across the UK talking to people from different communities.
“I’ve been to Hartlepool three times to talk about the jobs of the future, the things that really matter.
“But I know we have to win every vote, I know we have to recover from this devastating loss in 2019.
“It’s a mountain to climb, but we climb it.”
Sir Keir has said he will take “full responsibility” for the results of this week’s local elections, as he has taken “full responsibility for everything the Labor Party does under my leadership”.
“We are fighting for every vote in this election on Thursday, winning every vote,” he added.
“That’s why I’m pretty much every hour of the day fighting for those votes alongside the team we have.
“We will enter Thursday with a very positive message about the change we want to bring to our country for the better and indicating that this is the first step towards that change.
“The work of rebuilding the Labor Party was never going to be completed in a year or so, I don’t think anyone thought that realistically.
“But these are very, very important elections for us.”
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Much of the recent poll came before last week’s announcement that the Election Commission had launched a formal investigation into the Prime Minister’s renovation of his Downing Street apartment.
The new scrutiny of how and when Mr Johnson’s overhaul was paid for has seen opponents launch a new attack on the Tory “sleaze”.
But International Trade Secretary Liz Truss downplayed the impact of recent allegations about Mr Johnson on this week’s election.
She told Sky News: “I have campaigned for elections across the country and what people want to know is …” what are my opportunities, how fast is the government going to put implement the immunization program? “.
“We just got the announcement yesterday that we have made 50 million vaccines across the UK.
“They want to know that we are on the right track with our roadmap to get out of the COVID lockdown.
“That’s what worries people and I think these allegations and counter-rumors of what’s going on in number 10 are of very, very little interest to people across the country.
“What they want to know is how we are dealing with COVID, how the immunization program is going and how we are creating jobs and growth.”