by Oleg Burunov
On Monday, UK Labour leader Keir Starmer reportedly said that he personally takes responsibility for the Conservative Party managing to win last week’s by-election in Hartlepool, a northern English town that has historically been a Labour stronghold.
UK Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Angela Rayner has reportedly blamed voters opposed to migration for the Labour Party’s flop in the 6 May by-election in Hartlepool won by the Conservative Party.
On Tuesday, the Daily Express cited Paul Waugh, executive editor of politics at the HuffPost, as claiming that “Angela Rayner says anti-immigrant voters in Hartlepool voted for the Tories and ‘we need to deal with that'”.
In a recent reshuffle of Labour leader Kir Starmer’s team, Rayner was moved from Labour Party chair and national campaign coordinator to cabinet office minister.
I will work tirelessly to reform our Party and deliver a policy agenda that will enable us to reconnect with the voters that we need to win, especially in our traditional heartlands, and show that the Labour Party speaks for the working class. That is our founding mission.
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) May 9, 2021
Her alleged latest remarks about the by-election come after Starmer reportedly described the loss of Hartlepool as “something profound about the size of the journey we have to go”.
“To be clear, I take responsibility. Nobody else. I lead the Labour Party and it is entirely on me”, Starmer said, according to unnamed sources cited by the Daily Express.
Last Thursday, Tory candidate Jill Mortimer beat out close Labour rival Paul Williams, getting nearly 7,000 more votes. Among the 16 candidates standing in the by-election, Mortimer managed to gather 15,529 votes, while Williams received only 8,589.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked the people of Hartlepool “for placing trust” in the Conservatives, with Tory Party Co-Chair Amanda Milling praising the by-election results as “historic”.
“We’re delighted that the people of Hartlepool have put their faith in Jill and the Conservatives to deliver on their priorities: to bring the change, investment and jobs Hartlepool deserves. I want to pay tribute to Jill Mortimer who will be a fantastic MP and will work tirelessly for the people of Hartlepool”, Milling emphasised.
Labour MP Richard Burgon, former shadow justice secretary, for his part, called his party’s Hartlepool election defeat “incredibly disappointing”, adding that “Labour’s leadership needs to urgently change direction”.