Backlash as Angela Rayner says Labour must ‘deal with’ anti-immigrant voters in Hartlepool

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Last Friday the election count revealed the hotly contested seat switched from Labour to Conservative for the first time in 57 years. The Conservative Party got more than 15,000 in last week’s Hartlepool by-election. Now, Paul Waugh, executive editor of politics at the HuffPost UK has claimed: “Angela Rayner says anti-immigrant voters in Hartlepool voted for the tories and ‘we need to deal with that’.”

Mr Waugh added: “Important to note Rayner was not arguing for an anti-immigration position.

“She was talking about how to tackle Tory messaging on it.”

Reacting to the reported comment made by Mrs Rayner, political commentator Darren Grimes said: “’Deal with that’?

“Are those concerned with high levels of immigration off to the gulags under a Labour government?”

One follower of Mr Grimes agreed with him and said: “There’s a subtle but important difference between ‘anti-immigrant’ and ‘anti-immigration’.

“But, those of ‘the Left’ choose a negative spin.”

However, one person who follows Mr Grimes disagreed with this response, tweeting, “that interpretation is a stretch even for truth-stretch Armstrong Grimes.”

After the crushing defeat, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “I take responsibility for Hartlepool by-election loss.”

Labour sources said on Monday that Sir Keir saw the loss of Hartlepool as “something profound about the size of the journey we have to go”.

He added: “To be clear, I take responsibility. Nobody else.

“I lead the Labour Party and it is entirely on me.”

Tory MP Jill Mortimer was declared winner in Hartlepool.

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In the by-election, the Conservative candidate won a majority of 6,940 votes over Labour’s Paul Williams.

The independent challenger Samantha Lee came in third with 2,904 votes.

After Labour’s defeat, there was a party reshuffle where Angela Rayner was stripped of her party chairwoman and campaign coordinator roles.

Referring to the reshuffle Sir Keir said that he had now given Mrs Rayner “a big new role, taking the fight to the Tories”.

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