ONE of the biggest talking points of the UK’s general election in 2019 was the collapse of the ‘Red Wall’ – a cohort of Brexit-voting constituencies in north and midlands of England that had traditionally voted Labour but opted for the Conservatives for the first time in decades.
The question of how to reclaim the Red Wall has no doubt left many heads raw from scratching in Labour HQ since that night – and now the self-styled ‘New Leadership’ has a chance to test the waters.
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Mike Hill Labour’s MP for Hartlepool – a northern constituency in County Durham – announced his resignation this week, triggering a by-election. While it was one of the Red Wall seats to Labour clung onto in 2019, many pundits have (with varying levels of glee) forecast a Conservative gain this time round.
This will be the first by-election since Keir Starmer won the Labour Party leadership last April – making this one of the first big tests of his tenure.
But Starmer doesn’t only face a challenge from the Tories.
The recently-formed Northern Independence Party has also announced its intention to put forward a candidate in Hartlepool.
This democratic socialist party aims to break the north of England away from Westminster, creating a new ‘Republic of Northumbria’.
Their spokesperson told reporter Richard Baker: “The UK government in Westminster has repeatedly shown it chooses to prioritise the economy in London over the health and lives of people in the North. The decades of Westminster neglect have absolutely made the situation worse.”
VVD topped the vote in the Dutch general election this week and picked up more seats than expected
Gaelle Legrand spoke with Joost van Spanje of Royal Holloway, a Professor of Politics at London’s Royal Holloway University to unpick the story behind the results.
Professor van Spanje said: “The classic parties of the capitalist right and the socialists or social democrats, basically have to adapt or disappear.”