Polling guru Curtice rings alarm bells for Starmer despite Batley win ‘Needs route out!’

John Curtice says Starmer needs ‘route out’ of ‘difficult position’

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Sir John noted the by-election win signalled the Labour Party has not reached “meltdown” point but noted major issues still remain. The party suffered severe losses in its northern strongholds since the 2019 General Election, with Sir Keir Starmer overseeing the loss of the Red Wall bastion of Hartlepool back in May. The polling expert told talkRADIO Labour remain in a “fairly difficult” position despite securing their hold on Batley and Spen.

Sir John said: “It tells us that the Labour Party’s vote in the north of England is not in meltdown but it doesn’t suggest that the Labour Party is anything less than in a fairly difficult political position from which Sir Keir Starmer does need to find a route out.

“Yes, Labour did manage to win even though there was certainly one poll that suggested they might not. And they managed to do so even though George Galloway managed to pick up 22 percent of the vote which I reckon to be the best performance by an independent candidate since George Galloway himself got 25 percent in Bradford West.

“Labour managed to win this seat but their share of the vote is only 35 percent and it’s actually down by just over seven points as compared with the December 2019 general election.”

The pollster continued: “The Labour Party was absolutely desperate to win this by-election while, in contrast, the Conservatives fancied their chances but perhaps no more than that.

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“It would’ve been the first time since Victorian times that the Government had got two by-elections in a row off the Opposition.”

Sir Keir Starmer has hailed a victory “against the odds” after Labour hung on to win in the Batley and Spen by-election.

Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater squeezed home by just 323 votes after a bitter and divisive campaign that many had predicted the party would lose.

The result came as a huge relief to the beleaguered Labour leader after the party’s bruising loss in the Hartlepool by-election in May.

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The win was personal triumph for Ms Leadbeater, whose sister, Jo Cox, represented the seat for Labour until her murder by a far-right extremist in 2016.

Labour peer Lord Mandelson said Batley and Spen’s by-election was a chance for Sir Keir to “take the party in a winning direction”.

Speaking to the BBC, Lord Mandelson said: “We’ve got to demonstrate that we’re ready for government in our policies, our outlook and optimism for Britain, our ambitions for the country.

“Because at the moment, and I will be honest about this, that’s not how we are seen by sufficient numbers of people.

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“We’re not pulling people towards us in sufficient numbers. We have to show we are a competitive, viable alternative to the Tories.”

Lord Mandelson added that Sir Keir needed to use the Labour Party conference to “set out his stall properly”.

“He’s got to show and map out a way forward for the party and I’m confident that he’ll do so,” he said.

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