Keir Starmer grilled on if he’ll resign if Labour loses Hartlepool
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Hartlepool’s residents will head out to their local polling station on Thursday as they vote for both their local representative on the council, which is currently a coalition between Independents and Conservatives, as well as a new MP following a by-election after former Labour representative Mike Hill stood down following sexual harassment allegations. The Conservatives have never won Hartlepool, a constituency held by Labour and its red wall since it was created in 1974. Shane Moore, leader of Hartlepool Council, said the feeling on the ground was largely that the Tories would win this by-election, saying it was Labour’s election “to lose”.
Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, is still hopeful his consistent campaigning in the area will lead to another victory.
The Labour leader said: “I hope we won’t lose Hartlepool. We are fighting for every vote there and I know that every vote has to be earned and that’s why I’ve been in Hartlepool three times in the campaign and we’ve got teams on the ground.”
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Seaton in Hartlepool, a strong suggestion he knows exactly how important this seat is to the Conservatives.
If the Tories win as predicted this Thursday, it will flat out confirm that the collapse of Labour’s Northern ‘red wall’ isn’t a one-off.
Speaking on Monday night, Mr Johnson emphasised it was still a “massive challenge” for his party to turn Hartlepool blue.
In a personal boost to the Prime Minister following an unfavourable few weeks shrouded in party scandal and so-called sleaze, a poll by Survation put Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer on track to gain 50 percent of the vote and Labour’s Paul Williams at 33 percent.
The same poll, based on interviews with 301 people between April 23 and April 29, showed 51 percent of the Hartlepool electorate viewed him favourable while 28 percent viewed him negatively, giving him an overall net favourability rating of plus 23.
In contrast, Sir Keir had a net rating of minus 18 – but it’s worth taking these figures with a pinch of salt as the Survation poll has a tiny sample size, around two thirds smaller than most political surveys so it’s likely to be significantly less accurate.
Odds have the Conservatives in favour of winning Hartlepool as well, with the Tories 1/6 to win compared to Labour’s 7/2.
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes told Express.co.uk: “It’s looking increasingly likely an overwhelming victory for the Conservatives is on the cards in the Hartlepool by-election.”
Mr Apati added: “Elsewhere, Thelma Walker is odds-on to notch up more than 1,000 votes, while 100/1 says she somehow manages to win the election.”
Betfair’s odds show a favourable outcome for the Conservatives as well, suggesting the red wall will be another brick short after Thursday.
Betfair has the Conservatives at 2/9 for winning Hartlepool and Labour at 11/4.
Spokesperson Sam Rosbottom told Express.co.uk: “Odds on Betfair reveal that the Conservatives are the clear favourites to win the Hartlepool by-election with a 2/9 (82 percent) chance of claiming the seat that Labour has held since 1974.
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“Meanwhile, Labour are 11/4 (26 percent) to retain the seat they won by just under 3,000 votes in the 2019 general election.”
The Labour Party believes its core supporters are holding up well with support in this election, but it’s increasingly concerned about the volatile undecided voters.
Hartlepool’s Corrine Winwood, 39, told the Guardian she believed the Conservatives would finally snag Hartlepool for the first time, saying: “The town is full of people who are fed up and have had enough and want a change, and they will try make that change any way they can.”
Labour lost a staggering 60 seats in the last general election, largely understood to be due to huge divisions between London and the rest of the country as well as a lack of understanding of the electorate and its changing needs.
Jeremy Corbyn, the party leader before Sir Keir, was another reason for Labour’s downfall in recent years as his lack of popularity outside metropolitan London cost Labour very dearly.
Mr Corbyn went into the 2019 campaign with the lowest net satisfaction rate of any opposition leader since the late 1970s, according to polling firm Ipsos More.
Among older voters, Labour campaigners said his past support for the IRA came up repeatedly on doorsteps of voters, while in London an antisemitism dispute within the party and a lack of apology or acknowledgement from Mr Corbyn took centre stage.
The Party is still trying to recover from this disastrous loss, but it doesn’t look like Hartlepool will be Labour’s saving grace.
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