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UK's Labour sacks campaign chief after poor election showing

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British Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner is seen outside parliament in London, June 2, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - Britain's opposition Labour Party sacked its chair and campaign coordinator on Saturday after a poor showing in local elections and the overwhelming loss of a once safe parliamentary seat, a party source confirmed.

Results from Thursday's elections have seen some 300 Labour councillors losing seats on English councils on top of defeat in Hartlepool, a once unthinkable victory for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party.

Labour leader Keir Starmer, who has struggled to revive his party's fortunes since a disastrous national election in 2019, had said he was bitterly disappointed and would take responsibility for fixing the situation.

His first major step was to remove Angela Rayner, who is Labour's deputy leader, from her role as chair of the party and its campaign chief.

"Keir said he was taking full responsibility for the result of the elections - and he said we need to change," a Labour source said. "That means change how we run our campaigns in the future. Angela will continue to play a senior role in Keir’s team."

Results announced on Friday appeared to show that a trend set by Johnson in the 2019 national elections when he struck directly at Labour's heartlands, the "Red Wall" areas of northern and central England, was continuing.

But, there was better news for Labour on Saturday with the party holding onto power in the devolved Welsh parliament, gaining a seat and increasing its vote share.

It also won a number of mayoral elections across the country, including taking the West of England from the Conservatives, but failed to re-take the West Midlands mayorship, another area that was once a Labour stronghold.

Reporting by Michael Holden and Elizabeth Piper. Editing by Andrew MacAskill

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