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Jeremy Corbyn led Labour to a crushing defeat in December’s election and its worst result since the 1930s, handing Mr Johnson and the Tories a huge 80-seat majority in the House of Commons, providing the ruling party with massive power on any parliamentary votes and motions. But crucially, Labour saw thousands of voters turn against the party in the general election, losing traditional heartlands and constituencies in the north of England that it had held and relied on for decades. Immediately after becoming leader on April 4, former Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir vowed to reunite a party dogged by vicious infighting, a baffling Brexit position and antisemitism allegations that had swept through the party under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.
No major party has ever increased their number of MPs by over 60 percent, which Starmer would need to accomplish to win in 2024
He also reshuffled his top team but last week sacked education spokeswoman Rebecca Long-Bailey – a strong ally of Mr Corbyn – after she shared an article online which included a reference to what he called an “antisemitic conspiracy theory”.
Political experts have warned just three months into his new job, the magnitude of the task ahead of Sir Keir is already evident. He would have to create British political history to topple the Prime Minister and the Tories.
John Macdonald, Head of Government Affairs at the Adam Smith Institute think tank, told Express.co.uk “Sir Keir has benefited not only in not being Corbyn, but in demonstrating a degree of competency at the opposition dispatch box not seen in a Labour leader for a long time.
“However, no major party has ever increased their number of MPs by over 60 percent, which Starmer would need to accomplish to win in 2024.
“He must neutralise the toxicity at the heart of Labour, create a popular narrative, and build a cohesive electoral coalition.
“To do what no opposition party has done before is no ordinary mountain to climb.
“Sir Keir is facing a challenge of Everest proportions. Time will tell if he, or another Labour leader, is the one to make it to the top.”
Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman, Bow Group think tank, warned Sir Keir is already at risk of falling into a traditional Labour “trap” in failing to define the requirements of the working classes and metropolitan liberals.
He told this website: “Keir Starmer is in danger of falling into the trap most recent Labour leaders have, which is to ignore the wishes of the working classes in favour of woke metropolitan liberals, whose views are often diametrically opposed.
“Labour needs to understand that the concerns of the British working classes are not the concerns of metropolitan liberals.
“By majority the British working class is patriotic and socially conservative.
“They voted for Brexit, want to see immigration fall significantly and are not signed up to the “woke” agenda.”
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Alex De Ruyter, professor at Birmingham City University who also serves as Director of its Centre for Brexit Studies, warned Labour is faced with a “series of structural challenges that make winning the next election unlikely”.
He explained: “The challenge for Starmer is threefold: firstly, he needs to convince “enough” of its traditional (often older) working-class supporters to vote in order to win back a sufficient number of traditional seats (think Sedgefield in the North East).
“Secondly, he needs to get much better at convincing younger voters and ethnic minorities (both of whom support the Labour Party in large numbers) to register and vote.
“Thirdly, his shadow cabinet needs sufficient credibility to convince people who were “put-off” by Corbyn (whether due to image, behaviour or policy) to vote Labour.”
The latest warnings come two weeks after Labour was told it has a “mountain to climb to get back into power in the next five years” in a damning report that laid bare the crumbling leadership of Mr Corbyn and huge challenge facing Sir Keir.
A major report looking at the disastrous general election defeat, put together by Labour Together and prepared by a a 15-strong panel of commissioners, warned the party will “not win” unless urgent and immediate changes to its culture and foundations are made.
Labour Together said: “Labour has a mountain to climb to get back into power in the next five years.
“This report lays out in stark detail the scale of that task. Unless as a party and a movement we face up to that we will not win.
“Labour faces a substantial challenge to win the next election, with a historic swing of over 10 percent needed to gain a majority of one seat.
“No major party has ever increased their number of MPs by over 60 per-cent, which is what Labour would need to do to win in 2024.”
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