George Galloway vows to deliver finishing blow to Labour in new vote – ‘Starmer must go!’

Local elections 'could be curtains' for Labour says Adonis

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Batley and Spen is home to yet another marginal seat in the “Red Wall”, which lost another brick last week with a humiliating Labour Party defeat in the Hartlepool by-election. Tracy Brabin has been Labour’s MP there since 2016 but won last week’s West Yorkshire mayor contest, and with her new role including police and crime commissioner powers, she is not able to hold both roles at the same time, meaning a by-election will be triggered. Labour will be holding their breath in the fight for yet another crucial seat as the party looks to regain some parity following the Hartlepool embarrassment.

During the general election of 2017, Ms Brabin held the seat with a 8,961 majority but two years later in 2019, this more than halved to 3,525 – 70 less than what Labour had held before last week’s Hartlepool by-election.

Now Mr Galloway, who was a Labour MP for 16 years until 2003, has piled the pressure on Sir Keir and announced the Workers Party of Britain, which he founded in December 2019, will contest the Batley and Spen by-election.

He wrote on Twitter: “The @WorkersPartyGB will be contesting the #Batley and #Spen parliamentary by-election as the patriotic working-class alternative to #StarmerMustGo.

“We fought for #Brexit we fought for the #Union. We will fight to unite all communities, for the working people of all backgrounds.”

Labour is also faced with a huge headache over when to hold the by-election as pressure continues to mount on leader Sir Keir Starmer.

This could be held in a matter of weeks, potentially taking advantage of marginal better performances for Labour candidates in West Yorkshire in these local elections.

But if they choose to delay it by taking time to choose the right candidate, Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party will likely experience a huge “vaccine bounce”, with all Covid lockdown restrictions having being lifted by then.

The latest comments from Mr Galloway comes following a series of blistering attacks against Labour following last week’s crushing defeat in Hartlepool.

Following that crushing defeat, the veteran tore apart five key party policies, writing on Twitter: “Labour will continue to audit statues and police personal pronouns, proselytise for every weird and wonderful identity-politics fad, support the EU against Britain, succour separatism in Scotland and Wales until it disappears up its own fundament.”

He also launched a furious broadside against former Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn, accusing the former Prime Minister and previous leader of breaking the party “beyond repair”.

Mr Galloway raged on Twitter: “The betrayal of #Brexit driven by the Blairites and capitulated to by the Corbynites has broken Labour beyond repair.”

The Hartlepool by-election disaster has sprung Sir Keir into immediate action by reshuffling his Shadow Cabinet in a desperate attempt to arrest the decline.

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Anneliese Dodds has replaced Angela Rayner as the party chair, with the Deputy Leader becoming Shadow First Secretary, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Shadow Secretary for the Future of Work.

Rachel Reeves takes over from Ms Dodds as Shadow Chancellor, Alan Campbell replaces Nick Brown as Chief Whip, Lucy Powell takes on the role of Shadow Housing Secretary from Thangam Debbonaire, who in turn has replaced Valerie Vaz as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.

Following the Hartlepool by-election, under-pressure Sir Keir told his shadow cabinet he takes full responsibility for the party’s crushing defeat in the Red Wall constituency.

The Labour leader met his revamped top team at Westminster on Monday, with party sources revealing he made clear he was not trying to shift the blame for the disastrous by-election performance.

Sir Keir was said to have told them there was no escaping the scale of the defeats which said “something profound about the size of the journey we have to go”.

He said: “To be clear, I take responsibility. Nobody else.

“I lead the Labour Party and it is entirely on me.”

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