Steve Rotheram has provided some relief for Labour by being re-elected as Liverpool City Region mayor.
The former MP held onto the role he was first elected to in 2017 to shore up Labour’s support on Merseyside.
The result gives Labour a bright spot in what have been a largely disappointing set of election results for the party’s leader Sir Keir Starmer.
In what was dubbed “Super Thursday”, around 48 million people were able to vote in elections this week across England, Wales and Scotland in a wide range of different contests.
But there have so far been few highlights for Sir Keir just over a year into his leadership of Labour.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives have enjoyed further success in traditionally Labour areas in England to build upon their resounding general election victory in 2019 when Labour’s “red wall” turned blue in large parts.
Speaking to Sky News earlier on Saturday, Environment Secretary George Eustice hailed “a very, very good set of results” for the Tories.
“It’s been the case now for some time that Conservative councils have a reputation for delivering services well and delivering them in a cost-effective way, so we’ve made further gains in those local authorities,” he said.
“But I think the big breakthrough in Hartlepool and in the Tees Valley mayoral election, these are great results for us.
“And I think really what it shows is that some of the areas feel that the Labour Party that has represented them for a long time no longer really is in tune with their priorities.
“I think the decision to leave the EU, which parts of the country like that wanted to see done and wanted to see respected, I think that probably changed things.
“But also they’re seeing a Conservative Party that is really in touch with their priorities.”
Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds admitted Labour has “a great deal to do” but backed Sir Keir to oversee a turnaround in the party’s fortunes.
“We clearly got things severely wrong in Hartlepool, that’s why we lost to the extent we did,” he told Sky News.
“But it is also the case that having lost four general elections in a row, it was never going to be turned around in 12 months.
“I recognise, absolutely, that we have a great deal to do. But my point is this, Keir has started that work.
“He has led courageously on things like tackling antisemitism within the Labour Party, he’s started to create that change within the Labour Party.
“And that’s now what we’ve got to develop. As we move out of the pandemic the public will have that chance to see the Keir Starmer that I know, that will be out tackling inequality at the forefront of his mission in politics.
“That is something, of course, we’ve not been able to do to the same extent during the pandemic.
“But, of course, Keir can now do going forward and accelerate the process of change that he’s put in place.”
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