NEWS DIGEST 08.05.2021: UK’s Labour Party suffer shocking defeats in local elections

Good morning. This Saturday our news will come via Google News.

As polls are being counted in the UK after yesterday’s local elections, the Labour party is still smarting after suffering several defeats in councils across the country, including losing the long-held seat of Hartlepool to the Conservatives. Labour’s leader Keir Starmer is expecting a massive fallout from his party after what the Times newspaper called ‘a thirteen-month march to election defeat’ – Keir Starmer faces fury of Labour after 13-month march to election defeat (The Times)

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Labour has held the Hartlepool seat, in north England, since its creation in the 1970s, and its loss was the biggest nail in the party’s electoral fortunes, as it was followed by a succession of defeats in councils up and down the country, with many party faithful seeing it as a the public’s rejection of the party and its policies. The Tories have continued to eat into Labour’s vote base even after a controversial eleven years in power, with no less than three different prime ministers, and the current incumbent being caught up in one scandal after another. The Conservatives took several seats in north England, with a high working-class population that traditionally voted red, including Darlington, Dudley, Redditch and Nuneaton – Vote 2021: Hartlepool election results alarm Labour party (Sky News/YouTube GB)

Prime minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, congratulated the people of the north-east and Hartlepool in particular for ‘placing their confidence’ in his party, and said that it was a mandate to deliver on their policies for the country after Brexit and for their politicians to get on with listening to their voters – Boris says Tories ‘delivered on Brexit & vaccines mandate’ to win Hartlepool by-election (The Sun/YouTube GB)

Fallout from elections leads many of Saturday’s papers with the Conservatives on cloud nine and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer under pressure. The Daily Telegraph carries an interview with Mr Johnson in which he rules out a second Scottish independence referendum, calling such a vote ‘irresponsible and reckless’. The FT Weekend says Mr Johnson has ridden a ‘vaccine bounce’, while the Daily Express reports the success of Brexit triggered “a string of historic election victories”. The Daily Mail sums up the events as “The day Boris blew up Labour”, and The Independent says Sir Keir will embark on a ‘major shake-up’ after the ‘devastating election results’. The Daily Star leads on the 12 destinations on the Government’s “Green list” for travel, including the Falkland Islands – What the papers say – May 8 (Evening Standard)

The Telegraph, a right-wing broadsheet, commented that today’s Labour was heavily loaded with elitism and was out-of-touch with ordinary voters. The paper said that there was a ‘new majority for cultural conservatism allied to economic populism’. England was now being ‘politically realigned’ and that the Labour party, once a voice for ordinary people, has become too mired in ‘second-rate issues’ and had forgotten its core voter demographic, leading many to abandon them for the Tories, independent candidates and more off-the-beaten track parties such as the Brexit Party – An elitist Left has lost touch with the voters (The Telegraph Opinion – Telegraph View)

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