William Hague blasts Keir Starmer in devastating letter – ‘I never lost by-election seat’

Keir Starmer criticises Johnson’s lockdown end announcement

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Mr Hague, the former Conservative leader, wrote a letter in the Times outlining his perception of Sir Keir’s time as Labour leader. The letter, addressed to Sir Keir, comes days after Labour beat the odds to win a narrow majority in the Batley and Spen by-election.

Mr Hague suggested that, unless Labour comes up with ideas to help shape the future, it will fail to be a strong opposition to Boris Johnson.

“Let’s be frank, it’s not been going very well,” he wrote.

“I hate to point this out, but even I, who went on to lose heavily in the 2001 General Election, gained hundreds of council seats every year, defeated Blair in one nationwide election (European elections, now of historical interest only) and never lost a seat to the government in a by-election.”

He added: “I went forwards too slowly but you have managed to go backwards.

“If you were a Conservative leader, with our more ruthless mindset, we would probably have you out by now.”

The by-election at Batley and Spen was seen by many experts as an acid test of Sir Keir’s leadership.

Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater, squeaked to victory with a narrow majority of 323 over her main Tory rival Ryan Stephenson.

Ms Leadbeater gained 13,296 votes, while Mr Stephenson pulled in 12,973.

Mr Hague admitted the victory had given Sir Keir “breathing space” but added recent reports of a leadership challenge should be raising alarm bells.

Just one day before the Batley and Spen by-election, The Times front page reported allies of the deputy Labour leader were “canvassing support” among peers and trade unions in a bid to drum up backing for a leadership challenge.

Ms Rayner was quick to deny knowledge of the alleged plot, saying the story was “news to me”.

A spokesperson for the deputy leader added: “Anybody doing that [canvassing for support] is not doing it under instructions from Angela or with Angela’s backing.”

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Mr Hague continued by outlining three challenges he believes the Labour leader currently faces.

The first is confronting Boris Johnson as Prime Minister which he admitted is “bad luck”.

The second is not fully comprehending the extent of change that is necessary to reform the Labour party.

And thirdly, Mr Hague said the current Labour Party is not looking to the future.

He said: “Conservatives can win elections for several reasons; because they are the safe option, because their opponents are divided, or because they have the best vision of the future.

“Labour only wins when it is the future.”

Express.co.uk has reached out to Sir Keir Starmer’s office for comment.

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