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Labour candidate marches off stage in silence after Hartlepool by-election loss

Labour candidate marches off stage in silence after Hartlepool by-election loss”

The rust-belt town constituency, which is deep in traditional Labour heartlands and has never voted Conservative since its creation in 1974, saw a 16% swing to the Tories.

Managing to present themselves as the party of change despite having led the United Kingdom for 11 years, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives extended their grip on parts of England that had been Labour strongholds for decades, if not a century.

About 48m people were eligible to vote across England, Scotland and Wales, with about 5,000 positions up for grabs.

"We've got a great team who can not wait to be able to cut through more and I hear what people are saying, it's not cutting through, I get that", she told BBC's Question Time. "No. 1 is continuing the vaccine rollout, making sure that we go from jab to jab, to jab to jobs, jobs, jobs".

Over the coming days, results elsewhere could have an even more dramatic influence on the state of the nation's politics.

Early results in council contests elsewhere also appeared to show voters deserting Labour, as ballots continue to be tallied up across England, Scotland and Wales following the yesterday's polls - the largest test of political opinion outside a general election.

On what was dubbed Super Thursday, around 50 million voters were eligible to take part in scores of elections, some of which had been postponed a year because of the pandemic that has left the United Kingdom with Europe's largest coronavirus death toll.

Labour's Hartlepool by-election candidate Dr Paul Williams walked off stage abruptly after losing the seat to his Conservative rival Jill Mortimer. Labour fielded a former Remain supporter as its candidate in a town where nearly 70 per cent backed Brexit in the 2016 referendum. "It's a truly historic result and a momentous day", she said.

The heavy defeat was a serious setback for Sir Keir Starmer, the opposition party's centrist leader, whose attempt to revive the party following its 2019 general election defeat was in disarray.

More news: Ontario may shorten interval between vax doses as more supply expected: Elliott

Starmer, who succeeded socialist Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in April 2020, admitted before the Hartlepool result that the party had a "mountain to climb" following its 2019 election defeat. He has already faced a backlash from the left wing of Labour in the wake of the Hartlepool result.

Labour had tried to manage expectations over the vote, saying that Thursday's elections would always be hard at a time of the coronavirus pandemic, which has boosted support for the government because of its rapid vaccine rollout.

Labour had held Hartlepool for decades. He didn't give further details. "I intend to do whatever is necessary to fix that".

"There's no hiding from the fact this is a shattering result for Labour", senior Labour MP Steve Reed told the BBC.

City mayors were also being elected, including London, where the incumbent, Sadiq Khan, is expected to retain power.

The result that could have the biggest implications is the Scotland election as it could fast-track another referendum on its future within the United Kingdom.

He has accused Johnson and his party of cronyism, questioning the financing of the prime minister's apartment, which an election watchdog is investigating. Jubilant council leader Mike Bird said: "I'm pleased the effort put in has paid off".

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon's push for a second independence referendum means the stakes are high in the the country's parliamentary elections.



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