By Declan Carey
KEIR Starmer’s failure to deal with Brexit hurt Labour in the UK local elections on Thursday as voters become increasingly frustrated with the party, the Rejoin EU Party have claimed.
At time of writing, Labour has lost eight councils (with results continuing to roll in), as well as losing a by-election in Hartlepool to the Conservatives for the first time since the constituency was created in 1974.
Following the result, Labour leader Keir Starmer dismissed party chair Angela Rayner, sparking backlash from members.
Rejoin EU Party leader Richard Hewison said: “The dire performance from Labour in the recent local elections is a big national raspberry to Keir Starmer’s pitiful performance in dealing with Brexit.
“He is simply providing no leadership on the biggest non-Covid issue of our age, and the electorate have had enough of it.”
Labour fared better in the mayoral elections with victories in Greater Manchester, West of England, and London.
Andy Burnham was re-elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester with 67.3 per cent of the vote adding his voice to those critical of Keir Starmer for sacking Angela Rayner.
The Rejoin EU Party believes that until Labour comes up with a completely different approach to the issue of Brexit, it will continue to suffer in the polls.
Andrew Smith, chairman of the Rejoin EU Party, said: “It seems totally unfeasible for Labour to move from this point to victory a few years ahead without a massive rethink in their approach to the European Union.”
“I would urge all Labour members interested in winning the 2024 election, rather than just posturing, to act now.”
Party leader Richard Hewison stood in the Mayor of London election, picking up 28,012 first preference votes – putting him in eighth place out of a field of 20 candidates.
Labour’s loss in Hartlepool saw another leave-voting northern “Red Wall” seat go to the Conservative party. The constituency voted by around 70 per cent to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.
Bernd Rendic, one of the Rejoin EU Party’s London Assembly candidates, said: “Why aren’t Labour getting the message? Brexit voters are done with you. The only hope Labour have left is to start being more appealing to those of us wanting to restore our links with Europe.”
Labour won 11 seats in the London Assembly out of a total of 25, with the Conservatives scoring nine, the Green Party three, and two for the Liberal Democrats.
In Scotland, the Scottish National Party, who stood on a pro-independence platform, picked up 64 seats in Scottish Parliament, one short of a majority. In the Welsh Senedd, Labour improved its share of the vote and gained 30 out of the chamber’s 60 seats.
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