Labor leaders have warned the party that it is unlikely to be able to spin a compelling story of victory after next week’s local elections, calling Tory’s claims of 750 losses “ridiculous” and suggesting Labor may even lose “red wall “-seats.
Shadow cabinet ministers warned that the party was on “thin ice” when it came to its lead in the polls. This week, the shadowy secretary, Lisa Nandy, warned Labor leader Keir Starmer that the party needed to shift its focus from attacking the Prime Minister across Partygate to talking about the cost-of-living crisis.
Following Nandy’s warning, the Labor leader said on Tuesday that he had put the crisis in focus throughout the local elections. Starmer told reporters at Stevenage: “When we started the campaign, we had a laser-like focus on the cost of living, and we have maintained that throughout.”
Workers’ aides are preparing a post-election narrative that would compare the party’s rise in turnout with a perusal of how many constituency seats the party could get. The current election cycle is usually the most favorable for Labor, which already has 50% of the seats in elections. In practice, this will mean that it is more difficult to announce significant space gains.
“This is going to be a very random set of choices where the story of the night is not immediately clear,” said a senior Labor source. “There will be some areas, including in places we lost in 2019, where it will be clear that we have far more work to do.”
Department by department, vote share will be monitored to see how it can translate into mandates in Westminster. Those under close scrutiny include Bury, where all seats are up for grabs and where the Tories were elected by narrow margins – even though a Member of Parliament, Christian Wakeford, jumped off to Labor in January. Birmingham Northfield is another area where Labor is hoping to win a win.
Party leaders are privately reluctant to take London councils such as Westminster and Wandsworth, but hope to make progress in The Child. Gains that would allow Starmer to tell a story of how the party has responded to the anti-Semitism crisis, seen as a key factor in the party’s underperformance in north-west London council under former leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2018.
Although most of the parliamentary Labor party has been encouraged by Starmer’s progress while the Tories fought scandals, there is still doubt about the leader’s boldness, even on the shady front bench.
“There are a lot of people who whispered loudly about Keir after the conference. It does not take much to make people in Labor panic,” said a shadow minister. it’s going to be easy for the Tories to get a grip on the story after May 5th, and I hope it does not stop us. “
Another shadow minister said the vote was “built on sand” and that Starmer needed to prove he could take it up in more than just sleaze scandals. “The caution is annoying. The material is dry. The policies are hail. I think we need to start making a bigger impression on a much wider range of stories,” they said.
“I think it was particularly bad around the conference, as there was chaos in the forecourts, and yet everyone stuck to their prepared speeches. It is better now that there are better front benches, but I do not yet see any signs that there is a big enough shift in communication operations. ”
Although Starmer has strengthened his position with MPs, former shadow minister Barry Gardiner has been contacted by colleagues about whether he can be a future unit candidate. “The left actually does not have anyone themselves. “I’m not sure Richard Burgon would get to the polls at all,” said one backer.
Starmer’s stance on non-compromise with the left is seen by most of his backers as an election campaign, but there are concerns from some high-ranking MPs that it could backfire if Labor forms a minority government in the future, leaving them dependent on the iron party’s discipline. . .
A shadow minister said they felt Starmer should spend more time hitting the cost-of-living crisis and less time “fighting the battles of the past”.