World Starmer slumps 17 points behind PM in new poll - and a third of Labour voters want him to quit
PM hails 'very encouraging' election results for Tories as Labour backbenchers turn on Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer is facing calls to "change direction" from Labour's left wing after he became the first leader to see the party lose Hartlepool in 47 years - while Boris Johnson hailed a "very encouraging" set of election results so far. Labour suffered a "shattering" defeat in Thursday's by-election in Hartlepool as they lost out to the Conservatives by 6,940 votes.Read the latest news and updates on India's Covid emergency.The result boosts the prime minister's majority in the House of Commons and also hands him another brick in Labour's "red wall".
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is trailing Boris Johnson as the British public's preferred prime minister by 17 percentage points, according to a new poll.
Sir Keir had started to close the gap in April, pollsters Opimium said, but in a survey held on 13 and 14 May, he garnered just 23% support as preferred prime minister.
This was a fall of six points, while Mr Johnson saw his popularity climb by eight points to 40%.
Only 29% of voters think Sir Keir looks like a prime minister in waiting, including 48% of people who voted Labour in 2019's general election.
Soul-searching for UK's Labour after Johnson triumphs
The "crushing" election rout suffered by Britain's Labour party has reopened internecine fighting as the centre-left opposition struggles to dent the vaccine-boosted appeal of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives. "Crushing defeat for Labour in Hartlepool. Not possible to blame Jeremy Corbyn for this result. Labour won the seat twice under his leadership," left-winger Diane Abbott tweeted."Keir Starmer must think again about his strategy," she said.Fellow left-winger Richard Burgon said the result in Hartlepool showed Labour was "going backwards" under Starmer and needed "to urgently change direction".
But a third of those 2019 Labour voters now want Sir Keir to resign as party leader after mixed results in last week's elections - including a previously unthinkable by-election defeat in the traditionally safe seat of Hartlepool.
Adam Drummond, Opinium's head of political polling, said: "Keir Starmer's ratings have taken a tumble as Labour voters begin to fear that he isn't the one to lead the party back to power.
"The Labour leader has taken a significant fall across all metrics in the last two weeks, particularly being a strong leader, looking like a prime minister in waiting, and being able to get things done.
"Any opposition would be struggling against a government riding the success of the vaccine rollout and the last time the government's approval figures for the pandemic were this positive the Conservatives held a 17 point lead.
Starmer 'bitterly disappointed' by results as MP says 'woke warriors' have taken over party
Sir Keir Starmer has said he takes "full responsibility" for Labour's defeat in the Hartlepool by-election, as an MP hit out at the "London-based bourgeoisie"A special message from Microsoft News: India is currently being devastated by a deadly second wave of Covid. You can support Oxfam's Covid relief efforts in India, including reaching out to the most affected and vulnerable communities, distributing and installing medical equipment and accessories, and supporting the most marginalised households. You can donate here.
"However, at least then Labour could console itself that their leader was new and making a positive impression.
"Labour's poor position today is the result of factors both out of their control and things they should be deeply concerned with."
Sir Keir took over his party's leadership from Jeremy Corbyn in April last year, and by September the party was ahead of the Conservatives in some polls for the first time since Mr Johnson became prime minister.
But that was before the UK's tremendously successful COVID-19 vaccination programme got under way in December, something that seems to have been among the reasons for Mr Johnson's popularity.
Approval for the government's handling of the pandemic is at its highest since mid-April last year, with 47% of adults happy and 33% disapproving.
Some 75% approve of the government's handling of the vaccine rollout.
UK ruling party targets shock win in opposition stronghold
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives were bidding Friday for an upset victory in a northern industrial seat after Britain held its first major electoral test since Brexit and the coronavirus crisis. The "Super Thursday" regional and local elections could reshape the UK as pro-independence forces in Scotland bid to break away. Results for the Scottish Parliament are due on Saturday. First up, after 0400 GMT Friday, is expected to be theThe "Super Thursday" regional and local elections could reshape the UK as pro-independence forces in Scotland bid to break away. Results for the Scottish Parliament are due on Saturday.
The poll, based on the responses of 2,004 adults in the UK, also showed:
- 33% of Labour voters want Sir Keir to resign as party leader
- 49% do not want him to go
- Two-thirds think Labour did badly in the local elections earlier this month but just 31% blame Sir Keir
- 57% said Sir Keir has been a better party leader than his predecessor Mr Corbyn
- The top choice for Sir Keir's replacement as Labour Party leader was Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, with approval from 47% and disapproval from 19%
- The Conservatives are up two points to 44%, whilst Labour has dropped six points to 31%
Labour at risk of losing Hartlepool as votes counted following elections across Britain .
Counting has begun after a day of elections that could have profound implications for the future of the United Kingdom and the Labour Party. Dubbed Super Thursday, polls closed at 10pm last night in the largest test of political opinion outside a general election in nearly 50 years.The future of the Labour Party and the state of the union are two of the main issues at play.In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon's SNP is hoping for an overall majority, which she said she will see as a mandate to hold a second independence referendum, which risks splitting up the United Kingdom.