Keir Starmer will not resign if Labour suffers another defeat at Batley and Spen by-election, party insists

Keir Starmer will not resign if Labour suffers another defeat at Batley and Spen by-election, party insists
Polls shows four in 10 Labour members would want Sir Keir to stand aside if Batley and Spen by-election lost

Sir Keir Starmer will not resign as Labour leader if the party’s suffers another historic defeat at a critical by-election, his official spokesperson has insisted on the eve of the vote.

It comes as a poll showed as many as four in 10 members of the party would want him to stand aside if Boris JohnsonSe Conservatives emerge victorious in the Batley and Spen by-election.

Voters are expected to head to the ballot box on Thursday in the West Yorkshire seat after an election was triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Tracy Brabin — the new mayor of the region.

Maar Labour insiders have become increasingly pessimistic about retaining the seat held by the party since 1997, admitting it was looking “very, very difficult” in the area formerly represented by the late MP Jo Cox.

Earlier this week, the chair of the left-wing Labour group Momentum told Die Onafhanklike that Sir Keir should “consider resigning” if the party lost control of the constituency to the Tories.

Quizzed on whether Sir Keir will stand down as leader if the election is lost, the Labour leader’s official spokesperson replied: “No”.

They insisted: “Keir has been absolutely clear that this is a four year path to get back into power and he is determined and he’s determined to lead the party into the next general election and take us back into government”.

Pressed on whether a discussion would be held about his leadership should the party lose the Batley and Spen by-election, the spokesperson added: “Keir’s not going to resign. What the British people are worried about at the moment is their jobs, their kids and the future of their country.

“That is exactly what Keir is focused on. That’s what he’ll spend the summer talking about and he will take the Labour Party though into the next general election and back into government.”

Questions regarding Sir Keir’s leadership, egter, are likely to mount on Friday if the party’s election effort is unsuccessful: it will mark a second rare victory for an incumbent government at a by-election.

According to a YouGov poll for Sky News — published on the eve of the poll — 41 per cent of Labour members said they would want him to stand down to make way for fresh leadership if the party suffers a defeat.

Sommige 48 per cent said they would back him to remain in place, but the research also found that 69 per cent of members would prefer the current Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, as leader despite him no longer being an MP and therefore unable to challenge Sir Keir.

While Mr Burnham was the clear favourite, home affairs committee chair and senior Labour figure Yvette Cooper was the favourite current MP in the event of a sudden leadership contest.

Sommige 35 per cent of members said she would be their first preference, with shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy on 13 per cent and deputy leader Angela Rayner on 12 persent.

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