Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, is under mounting pressure ahead of Thursday’s local elections across Great Britain after new polls put his party far behind the ruling Conservatives in several key races.
Surveys showed the Labour party trailing in the Hartlepool by-election as well as the Tees Valley and West Midlands mayoralties.
All of these are critical bellwether contests in the party’s longer-term campaign to win back the “red wall” seats lost to the Tories in the 2019 general election, Labour’s worst election result for nearly a century.
The news comes as the Conservatives enjoy a poll bounce from the government’s successful coronavirus vaccination programme in recent months, in contrast to widely criticised pandemic missteps last year.
Speaking on Tuesday morning, Starmer said he would “take full responsibility” for the results later this week.
He told the Radio 4 Today programme that his job had been to rebuild the party after its…