Poll shows Tories are on course for a huge 17-point win in Hartlepool

Disaster for Keir Starmer as poll shows Tories are on course for a MASSIVE 17-point win in Hartlepool by-election – a seat that has ALWAYS voted Labour

  • Survation poll find the Tories are 17 points ahead in Labour bastion Hartlepool
  • The seat up for grabs in by-election on Thursday has always been Labour held
  • Conservative nerves about impact of No11 flat row but many votes cast by post 

Keir Starmer is facing disaster at elections this week as a shock poll showed the Tories are on track to record a in Hartlepool.

Survation research puts Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer 17 points clear in a seat that Labour has always held since its creation in 1974.

The survey for ITV’s Good Morning Britain comes with health warnings as it is a relatively small sample, and was conducted a week ago before Boris Johnson’s ‘wallpapergate’ scandal fully took hold.

But it suggests that Sir Keir is facing a grim night as he struggles to resurrect Labour’s fortunes after its worst general election defeat since 1935 in December 2019.  

Sir Keir tried to put a brave face on the situation today, saying he will take ‘full responsibility’ for the results on Thursday.

He said his job is to ‘rebuild the Labour Party’. ‘I understand that every vote needs to be earned,’ he told Sky News.  

Survation research puts Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer 17 points clear in a seat that Labour has always held since its creation in 1974

Sir Keir tried to put a brave face on the situation today, saying he will take ‘full responsibility’ for the results on Thursday

Voters in England, Scotland and Wales will go to the polls on Thursday for contests in the devolved parliaments, regional mayors and local councils, with Labour expecting a ‘very difficult’ night

Mr Johnson seemed to receive a warm reception when he visited Hartlepool yesterday, elbow bumping locals and posing for selfies.

A bullish premier dismissed the impact of the row over his lavish No11 flat refurbishment, saying people would not focus on ‘trivia.

The seat voted heavily for Brexit, but the Tories did not flip it in 2019 in the same way as much of the rest of Labour’s ‘Red Wall’.

Other polls have suggested that Conservative support is dipping as the lobbying and refurbishment rows take their toll – although the party was enjoying huge leads in the early stages of the campaign.

A much higher proportion of postal votes than normal are expected to be cast due to the pandemic, meaning many people could have made their decision before the allegations filtered through. 

In a sign of rising angst, one Cabinet minister told the Times: ‘For people who don’t like Boris it accentuates that.

‘That’s got to be a worry ahead of the local elections.’ 

In a call with Tory activists last night, Mr Johnson tried to play down expectations for Hartlepool – once held by New Labour mastermind Lord Mandelson. 

‘I want to stress that a lot of people are talking about Hartlepool — I have just been there,’ he said.

‘I think it’s important for people to understand this is not a seat that Conservatives have ever held. 

‘This is the stamping ground of Peter Mandelson. It’s very important for everybody to be aware of the deep psephological reality.

‘It’s a massive, massive challenge, it would be a quite extraordinary thing in my view if that were to happen — but that doesn’t mean that we’re not fighting for every single vote.’ 

Mr Johnson seemed to receive a warm reception when he visited Hartlepool yesterday, elbow bumping locals and posing for selfies

Other polls have suggested the previously huge national Tory advantage has been trimmed back as ‘Super Thursday’ approaches 

What is up for grabs in the ‘Super Thursday’ elections? 

Voters across Great Britain will go to the polls on May 6 on what has been dubbed ‘Super Thursday’.

Every adult in England, Scotland and Wales will be entitled to vote in at least one contest.

The results could provide a critical marker for the direction of Britain – and in the case of Scotland, give an indication of whether Nicola Sturgeon’s drive for another independence referendum will get traction. 

Here is a run-down of the different contests happening on Thursday:  

Scottish Parliament

Voters in Scotland will elect 129 MSPs in a crucial contest which will give an indication of the level of support for the SNP’s push for a fresh vote on independence.

People will cast two ballots under the additional member system – a form of proportional representation – electing both constituency and regional MSPs.

Votes for the individual candidates in the 73 constituencies are counted first.

The 56 regional MSPs – split across eight regions – are elected using a formula aimed at ensuring that the number of seats a party gets in total across a region is about the same as the percentage of votes it receives.

Welsh Parliament

Labour has run Wales since devolution and Mark Drakeford hopes to maintain the party’s grip on the Senedd.

The additional member system is used to elect 40 constituency and 20 regional members.

Hartlepool by-election

The contest to elect Hartlepool’s next MP provides a key test for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. The party held the seat in 2019 with a majority of 3,595.

But the ‘red wall’ across the north crumbled, handing Boris Johnson the keys to No 10, so the by-election will give an indication of whether Sir Keir has been able to reverse the process that has seen Labour’s heartlands disappear.

Bookmakers have made the Tories odd-on favourites to secure the seat, a rare feat for a governing party.

As in a general election, the first-past-the-post system is used – whoever gets the most votes wins the seat.

London

In London, Labour’s Sadiq Khan is the bookies’ favourite to retain City Hall.

Voters choose the mayor using the supplementary vote system, picking a first and a second preference for the job. If a candidate receives more than half of all the first choice votes they are elected. If this does not happen, the two candidates with the most first choice votes go through to another round, with second preferences from the eliminated candidates taken into account.

Voters in the capital will also elect 25 London Assembly Members using a system similar to that in Scotland and Wales.

English mayors

Regional mayors will be elected for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England and – for the first time – West Yorkshire. High-profile names seeking re-election include Labour’s Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester and Tory Andy Street in the West Midlands.

Five local mayors are also due to be elected on May 6, for the local authorities of Bristol, Doncaster, Liverpool, North Tyneside and Salford.

Like the London mayoral contest, the supplementary vote system is used.

Local elections

There will be 21 county councils holding elections, along with 28 unitary authorities, 59 district councils and 35 of the 36 metropolitan boroughs (the one exception is Birmingham, where elections will take place in 2022). 

In total around 5,000 councillors are due to be elected, all using the first-past-the-post system.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections

PCCs will be elected in all areas of England apart from London, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, where these powers are held by the directly-elected mayor. A total of 39 commissioners will be chosen across England and Wales using the supplementary vote system.

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