Labour falls to ‘shattering’ defeat in Hartlepool by-election

Support us and go ad-free

Keir Starmer’s hopes of leading a Labour revival have been dealt a crushing blow after the Tories romped to victory in the Hartlepool by-election.

In a stunning result, the Conservatives took the seat – which had been Labour-held since it was formed in 1974 – with a majority of 6,940.

Reaction pours in

Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed admitted it was an “absolutely shattering” result as another brick in the party’s once impregnable “red wall” crumbled.

POLITICS Elections
(PA Graphics)

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
Heavy defeat

In a major boost for Boris Johnson, Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer gained 15,529 votes – more than half the total cast. Labour’s Paul Williams trailed on 8,589.

POLITICS Elections
(PA Graphics)

And early results in council contests appeared to show voters deserting Labour, with the Tories seizing Redditch and Nuneaton & Bedworth councils in the Midlands, along with Harlow in Essex and Northumberland.

In her victory speech, Ms Mortimer said the result – overturning a Labour majority of more than 3,500 at the 2019 general election – was “truly historic”.

“Labour have taken people in Hartlepool for granted for too long. I heard this time and time again on the doorstep,” she said.

Party direction

The result provoked a furious reaction from the Labour left – sidelined since Starmer became leader last year – who said the party must now change direction.

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said it had been a “crushing” defeat.

“Not possible to blame Jeremy Corbyn for this result. Labour won the seat twice under his leadership. Keir Starmer must think again about his strategy,” she tweeted.

Hartlepool by-election
Labour’s Paul Williams was defeated by Conservative Jill Mortimer (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Former shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said the party needs to “urgently change direction”.

“We are going backwards in areas we need to be winning,” he tweeted.

“Labour’s leadership needs to urgently change direction. It should start by championing the popular policies in our recent manifestos.”

Grassroots group Momentum said it was a “disaster”.

Co-chairman Andrew Scattergood said: “Starmer’s strategy of isolating the left and replacing meaningful policy with empty buzzwords has comprehensively failed.

“If he doesn’t change direction, not only will he be out of a job – but the Labour Party may be out of government forever.”

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us