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Starmer ‘performed worse than Corbyn outside London’, says elections expert

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Keir Starmer performed worse than Jeremy Corbyn in last night’s local elections outside London, a number one polling expert has said.

Despite the party claiming historic victories in London, Professor Sir John Curtice said that, from results announced overnight, Labour’s share of the vote and numbers of seats won outside the capital were actually lower than the last time the seats were contested in 2018.

There was “little or no sign” of the party making progress in Brexit-backing areas of the North and Midlands which fell to Conservatives in 2019, when Boris Johnson made deep inroads into the so-called Red Wall of Labour’s traditional heartlands.

Prof Curtice told BBC News: “The Labour party can definitely rightly claim to have done an awful lot higher than they did last 12 months –  their vote’s up by about 5 or 6 points across England as an entire.

“But then now we have to recollect they did so, so badly last 12 months, which  was a very disappointing result for Labour.”

He added: “In London, the party definitely has made progress on what it achieved in 2018. It has done higher than anything that Jeremy Corbyn managed to do as leader. “The difficulty is outside of London, actually, Labour’s vote is just a little bit lower than it was in 2018. It hasn’t done quite in addition to Jeremy Corbyn did.

“And that’s not only through the votes, but actually – thus far at the very least – Labour has made a slight net lack of seats outside of London. “Now, Labour must do well in London to win elections, but doing well in London is not going to be sufficient.

“And definitely there may be very little sign of the Labour Party making particular progress in a few of those Leave-inclined places, traditional labour places within the north of England and the Midlands.

“That’s the goal that Labour has long been setting itself. Its goal has not been to color London much more red than it’s already. It has been to attempt to reclaim the bottom that has been losing further north.”

England local elections after 73 of 146 results declared on Friday morning

(Press Association Images)

But Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator Shabana Mahmood insisted that Labour could be winning parliamentary constituencies within the Midlands and north of England on the idea of the vote share seen in last night’s results.

“When you take a look at what’s happening in the favored vote – the combination vote share because it’s known in these local elections – actually we could be winning parliamentary seats reminiscent of Workington, we could be winning in Copeland, we’d be winning back Hartlepool, Carlisle, Great Grimsby, Leigh, two seats in Wolverhampton, two seats in West Brom,” said Ms Mahmood.

“That’s lots of Tory MPs that may be losing their seats to the Labour Party in the subsequent general election.”

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