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World

British opposition leader reshuffles team after poll losses

  • Starmer's recent attacks on government "sleaze" in the awarding of pandemic-related contracts appeared to have no impact on the voters.
10 May 2021

LONDON: The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, on Sunday announced changes to his team after a "bitterly disappointing" performance in last week's local election losses.

Labour lost ground in England, including in what were once considered its northern strongholds.

In addition to its local election losses, it also lost a bye-election in the northern city of Hartlepool to the ruling Conservatives, a seat the party had held since 1974.

Declaring himself "bitterly disappointing" on Saturday, Starmer vowed to do "whatever is necessary" to rebuild trust in the party.

That, he said, would require "bold ideas and a relentless focus on the priorities of the British people", he said in a statement.

Britain's 2016 referendum on EU membership eroded old party loyalties, and continues to bring the Tories unprecedented success in areas such as Hartlepool, in northeast England which was strongly pro-Brexit.

Starmer's recent attacks on government "sleaze" in the awarding of pandemic-related contracts appeared to have no impact on the voters.

The elections came as Britain began to open up again thanks to Europe's most successful inoculation campaign.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also overseen massive spending to combat the pandemic, and looks inclined to maintain a high level of state intervention to sustain the coming economic recovery.