Disaster for Keir Starmer as poll shows Tories are on course for a MASSIVE 17-point win in Hartlepool by-election – a seat that has ALWAYS voted Labour
- Survation poll find the Tories are 17 points ahead in Labour bastion Hartlepool
- The seat up for grabs in by-election on Thursday has always been Labour held
- Conservative nerves about impact of No11 flat row but many votes cast by post
Keir Starmer is facing disaster at elections this week as a shock poll showed the Tories are on track to record a in Hartlepool.
Survation research puts Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer 17 points clear in a seat that Labour has always held since its creation in 1974.
The survey for ITV’s Good Morning Britain comes with health warnings as it is a relatively small sample, and was conducted a week ago before Boris Johnson’s ‘wallpapergate’ scandal fully took hold.
But it suggests that Sir Keir is facing a grim night as he struggles to resurrect Labour’s fortunes after its worst general election defeat since 1935 in December 2019.
Sir Keir tried to put a brave face on the situation today, saying he will take ‘full responsibility’ for the results on Thursday.
He said his job is to ‘rebuild the Labour Party’. ‘I understand that every vote needs to be earned,’ he told Sky News.
Survation research puts Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer 17 points clear in a seat that Labour has always held since its creation in 1974
Sir Keir tried to put a brave face on the situation today, saying he will take ‘full responsibility’ for the results on Thursday
Mr Johnson seemed to receive a warm reception when he visited Hartlepool yesterday, elbow bumping locals and posing for selfies.
A bullish premier dismissed the impact of the row over his lavish No11 flat refurbishment, saying people would not focus on ‘trivia.
The seat voted heavily for Brexit, but the Tories did not flip it in 2019 in the same way as much of the rest of Labour’s ‘Red Wall’.
Other polls have suggested that Conservative support is dipping as the lobbying and refurbishment rows take their toll – although the party was enjoying huge leads in the early stages of the campaign.
A much higher proportion of postal votes than normal are expected to be cast due to the pandemic, meaning many people could have made their decision before the allegations filtered through.
In a call with Tory activists last night, Mr Johnson tried to play down expectations for Hartlepool – once held by New Labour mastermind Lord Mandelson.
‘I want to stress that a lot of people are talking about Hartlepool — I have just been there,’ he said.
‘I think it’s important for people to understand this is not a seat that Conservatives have ever held.
‘This is the stamping ground of Peter Mandelson. It’s very important for everybody to be aware of the deep psephological reality.
‘It’s a massive, massive challenge, it would be a quite extraordinary thing in my view if that were to happen — but that doesn’t mean that we’re not fighting for every single vote.’
Mr Johnson seemed to receive a warm reception when he visited Hartlepool yesterday, elbow bumping locals and posing for selfies