United Kingdom elections: Boris Johnson’s Conservatives win Hartlepool seat in blow to Labour

Brenda Watkins
May 8, 2021

The Hartlepool result continues a trend set by Johnson in the 2019 parliamentary election when he struck directly at Labour's heartlands, the "Red Wall" areas of northern and central England, to score a commanding majority in parliament on a simple message to "get Brexit done". Results for the Scottish Parliament are due on Saturday.

United Kingdom opposition leader Keir Starmer said he would take "full responsibility" if his Labour party loses a crucial by-election in Hartlepool and other local races.

They also secured a victory over Labour by winning East Lothian.

Britain's ruling Conservative Party has snatched a historically left-wing seat from the opposition Labour party in a tense by-election in England.

Labour's choice of Mr Williams, an anti-Brexit candidate whose vocal support for a second referendum has been blamed for the loss of Stockton South - a seat that voted by over 60 per cent to leave the European Union - has been criticised given Hartlepool voted to leave by an even bigger margin.

Sir Keir took over as Opposition leader from Jeremy Corbyn four months after the party's disastrous 2019 general election performance with the promise of turning it back into a winning force.

The result will ratchet up the pressure on Mr. Starmer, elected leader a year ago promising to rebuild the party and reconnect with traditional voters.

Steve Reed, shadow communities secretary and a Starmer loyalist, said: "This was a shattering result for Labour". Labour has not yet changed almost enough for voters to place their trust in us.

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In her victory speech, Mortimer said the result was "truly historic", saying: "Labour have taken people in Hartlepool for granted for too long".

Ahead of the official results, a giant inflatable Johnson appeared outside the building where the vote count was taking place.

The balloon prime minister, complete with trademark scruffy blond hair, stood giving two thumbs up as ballots continued to be counted inside. "No. 1 is continuing the vaccine rollout, making sure that we go from jab to jab, to jab to jobs, jobs, jobs".

Voting also took place Thursday for local councils in England, regional mayors including in London, and for the devolved assemblies in Wales and Scotland.

Underlining Hartlepool's importance in the national battle, both leaders paid repeat campaign visits there, and the Conservatives were also banking on a strong showing in mayoral races for the English regions of Tees Valley and the West Midlands.

They suggest Mr. Starmer faces an increasingly daunting task to unseat Johnson at the next general election due in 2024.

They hadn't and in choosing Dr Paul Williams, who backed Remain, they were perceived to be ignoring the views of the majority.Boris Johnson is seen as the man who delivered Brexit and his candidate Jill Mortimer trounced her opponent.

Labour had tried to manage expectations over the vote, saying that Thursday's elections would always be hard at the time of the coronavirus pandemic, which has boosted support for the government because of its rapid vaccine rollout.

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