Labour: Baroness Chakrabarti discusses Hartlepool candidate
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Ms Rayner and the other Corbynites in the Labour Party are “responsible” for pushing the North of England’s Red Wall away from the party, Express.co.uk was told. It comes as Sir Keir Starmer rallies behind efforts to hold on to the Red Wall seat of Hartlepool in May’s local elections. The port town has been at the top of Sir Keir’s priority list in this year’s campaign.
He has visited it twice in the past month alongside the seat’s Labour candidate and perceived outsider, Paul Williams.
Mr Williams was picked by Sir Keir after Mike Hill resigned from the job following allegations of sexual harassment which he denies.
Many were dumbfounded when Mr Williams was selected, however.
An ardent Remainer, he championed a People’s Vote after Brexit while Hartlepool voted 70 percent to leave the EU.
Yet some claim this is simply one in a string of failures that the Labour Party has committed, especially in relation to the Red Wall.
Paul Embery, a leading trade unionist and Labour member, said big-name Corbynites like Ms Rayner, Richard Burgon, Ian Lavery, and Mr Corbyn himself were “responsible” for the dilemma the party has in seats like Hartlepool.
Talking about the dissent that stirred before this year’s Budget announcement, Mr Embery said: “The hard left element, the far left element, whatever you want to call it, in many respects, we shouldn’t be too unduly concerned with what they’re demanding because let’s be honest many of them were the architects of Labour’s annihilation at the last general election.
“They’re the people who have helped to deliver and add more to the Tories because of their ideology, because they’re just not in touch with millions of working class people, their priorities are just out of kilter with those working class communities.
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“The key thing for Starmer is to concentrate on winning back those Red Wall seats, and the truth is he’s not going to do that by listening to those elements who are responsible for driving them away in the first place.”
Ms Rayner in particular is one of the party’s highest ranking members left over from the Corbyn years.
She is deputy leader of Labour, and served as Shadow Education Secretary under Mr Corbyn.
Hartlepool is lining up to be one of the most hotly anticipated votes in the local elections.
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The first and only major poll carried out by Survation earlier this month found the Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer to be ahead of Labour by seven points.
The Tories have never won in Hartlepool, but the poll might explain why Sir Keir is so desperate to funnel all resources into Hartlepool.
According to The Times, activists have been sent in from the wider region, while the party has diverted campaigning resources from neighbouring councils.
Although, many like Professor Richard Wyn Jones argue that focusing too much on the Red Wall and Hartlepool risks alienating voters in the rest of the country.
The political scientist told Express.co.uk: “The danger for Labour is that if they try and attack in one direction in order to win back the North of England, the English identifying North of England, they will alienate their welsh identifying voters in Wales, or that they will further alienate the Scottish identifying voters that they need to win back in Scotland.
“Labour have a real issue in understanding the nature of the problem they face.
“Even if they could work it out, I think objectively they have a really difficult problem in working out what to do about it because of the nature of that party’s support, historically speaking.”
In Hartlepool, Labour has a narrow majority of 3,595.
Ray Martin-Wells, the president of the local Tory association told The Times: “For the first time in my life, yes, I genuinely do think we could win.”
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