Keir Starmer prepares damage control for Labour as he braces for Hartlepool ...

Keir Starmer grilled by host over 'tough contest' in Hartlepool

Sir Keir Starmer appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss the upcoming Hartlepool by-election after a recent poll put the Conservatives 17 points ahead of Labour. The red stronghold is being touted as a litmus test for Sir Keir’s leadership, who critics have blasted for his lack of distinct policies and holding the Government to account poorly. Sir Keir appeared to carry out a form of damage control and toned down his rhetoric ahead of the predicted Hartlepool washout stating it was not “realistic” to expect Labour to win the general election following their 2019 election disaster.

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Discussing the Hartlepool by-election, Sir Keir revealed he would take full responsibility for anything that happens in the Labour party following any mistakes or failure. 

Host Mishal Husain then asked: “So if you lose in Hartlepool where the prime minister has just visited.

“That takes us back really to 2019 and the loss of all those seats to the conservatives. 

“The answer or the reason given [for the loss] was Corbyn and Brexit, what will it be this time for you in Hartlepool do you think?”

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Keir StarmerKeir Starmer toned down his language surrounding the Hartlepool by-election (Image: Getty )

Keir Starmer HartlepoolThe Labour leader is set to lose his party's stronghold of Hartlepool (Image: Getty )

In 2019, Labour lost 59 seats bringing their total to 203 but most notably lost several northern Labour strongholds in areas known as “the red wall”.

The Hartlepool by-election was triggered after Labour MP Mike Hill resigned following allegations he spent taxpayers money on harassment legal fees. 

Sir Keir replied: “Well, I hope we won't lose Hartlepool we're fighting for every vote there and I know that every vote has to be earned. 

“That's why I've been in Hartlepool three times over the campaign - we've got teams on the ground. 

Keir Starmer grilled on if he’ll resign if Labour loses Hartlepool

Keir Starmer HartlepoolKeir Starmer has been campaigning in Hartlepool (Image: Getty )

“My job as Labour leader was to

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