Keir Starmer outlines planned Labour Party 'changes'
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Labour’s Tracy Brabin currently represents to the constituency of Batley and Spen in Yorkshire. She is running in the West Yorkshire mayoral race, with the results of the election due to be announced tomorrow.
Ms Brabin is heavily tipped to win the vote and would be required to resign as an MP.
The West Yorkshire mayor holds policing powers and is therefore legally not allowed to also sit in Parliament.
It sets the scene for a second by-election race in a Labour heartland seat just a few months time after the Hartlepool vote.
On Thursday the northern town elected a Conservative MP for the first time in over 50 years.
Tory candidate Jill Mortimer won the seat with a sizeable majority of 6,940.
The result was a heavy blow for Labour leader Sir Keir, who had pitched himself as the man to turn around the party’s electoral misfortunes after a disastrous set of results under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in 2019.
Questions over Sir Keir’s leadership have already begun to mount following Thursday’s result, with criticising demanding he improve or face a leadership challenge.
He now faces the prospect of a deadline to turn around the party, with any necessary by-election in Batley and Spen likely to take place by the end of the summer.
Precedent dictates a by-election is usually held within four months of a vacancy, unless a general election is due to soon take place.
Batley and Spen has special significance for Labour as it was the constituency represented by Jo Cox prior to her murder in 2016.
Ms Brabin has represented the constituency ever since.
Pressure on Sir Keir’s position would ramp up if the party failed to retain the seat.
Last night the Labour leader pledged to do “whatever is necessary” to rebuild trust in the party.
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“I’m bitterly disappointed in the result and I take full responsibility for the results – and I will take full responsibility for fixing this,” he said.
“We have changed as a party but we haven’t set out a strong enough case to the country.
“Very often we have been talking to ourselves instead of to the country and we have lost the trust of working people, particularly in places like Hartlepool.
“I intend to do whatever is necessary to fix that.”
Sir Keir said that he would set out details of his plan to “reconnect ” the party with voters over the “next few days”.
“This goes way beyond a reshuffle or personalities,” he said.
“It’s about focusing the Labour Party on the country and making sure that we close the gap between the Labour Party and working people.”
The results of the West Yorkshire mayoral electioneer expected at approximately 4pm tomorrow.
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