13 December 2019 14:36
General Election 2019: Sir Keir Starmer says party needs to 'reflect' on 'devastating' election results Keir Starmer speaks after retaining his seat at the 2019 General Election. Sir Keir Starmer has strolled to victory in Holborn and St Pancras, warning the party needs to "reflect" on a "devastating" election result. The 57-year-old was Labour's shadow Brexit secretary before the general election and won his third election for the seat. Speaking from the stage at the Somers Town Sports Centre after getting his result, he thanked activists for their support and said: "There is no hiding place from the result of this election this evening. It is devastating for the party - devastating for our members, and activists who have so much campaigning in to win this election.
"Most of all my heart goes out to the millions who needed change in this election having already suffered under 10 years of the Tories: those who are homeless tonight, those families living in poverty, those on universal credit, those so reliant on the health service and public services. Sir Keir added: "We as a movement need to reflect on this result and understand it together. We also have a duty to rebuild, starting now." After a poor election performance for the Labour Party, the Dartmouth Park local is now one of the favourites to replace Jeremy Corbyn, who has announced he will stand down. KEIR Starmer said the poor and homeless had not got the change they needed as Labour lost the general election to the Conservatives this morning (Friday). The Holborn and St Pancras MP saw his majority slightly reduced but he still held his seat in the House of Commons with a lead of 27,763 from the Conservatives in second place.
"We as a movement need to reflect on this result and understand it together," he said. "We have a duty to rebuild, starting now." Mr Starmer made time in his speech to make a special reference to Frank Dobson, his predecessor in Holborn and St Pancras, who died earlier this month. In another local triumph for the party, Gail McAnena-Wood won a council by-election in the Haverstock ward. Jeremy Corbyn's election night speech did little to address the fact he led Labour to its worst result since 1935. However, he did at least acknowledge that he probably wasn't the best person to lead the party into the next election. Succession has been a main topic of conversation within the Labour party for some time now. In the days before the election, senior party figures were discussing how to replace Jeremy Corbyn should the party fail to win enough seats to form a government. Under a plan discussed by union officials, the shadow chancellor would be appointed interim leader, allowing for a leadership contest in 2020. Not all the party's MPs would be thrilled at the prospect of continuity Corbynism in the guise of McDonnell at the helm indefinitely. But, thanks to a change in the rules in the autumn, it is up to the national executive committee to appoint any interim leader — and that committee is firmly weighted in favour of Corbynism. There are two reasons why delaying a leadership contest until autumn next year is thought to be in the interests of the Corbyn wing. The first is that holding the contest immediately after this heavy defeat could help those candidates promising a break from Corbynism. The second is that none of the candidates favoured by Corbyn and McDonnell is quite ready for primetime. Two candidates who could benefit from an early race are Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer. They have been rather quiet over the course of the election campaign — or, to quote one party aide, have been 'sidelined'. If Thornberry stands she could pitch herself as a loyal Corbyn supporter keen to move the party closer to the membership's pro-EU stance, while taking a tougher stance on anti-Semitism. She hinted at this in her speech at her election count – paying tribute to Corbyn but talking about the need to learn. Among some Labour MPs, Starmer is seen as the great hope. Pressure is mounting to ensure the next full-time leader is female, which would finally allow Labour to shake off the unenviable tag of being the only mainstream British party never to have been led by a woman. Second, some Labour MPs worry Starmer can be wooden. Of the candidates more likely to continue the spirit of Corbynism, Rebecca Long-Bailey is seen as McDonnell's protégé and the heir apparent. A sign of her closeness to the leadership can be found in the fact she has an office close to McDonnell and Corbyn in the Norman Shaw building of parliament. A docker's daughter from Manchester, Long-Bailey is a proud socialist and a loyal ally to Corbyn and McDonnell. During the election campaign, she was given the task of representing Labour in the BBC's seven-party debate. But Pidcock – who shot to notoriety when she gave an interview saying she would never be friends with a Tory – lost her seat of North West Durham to the Conservatives so is out of the picture. There are also dark horses in the race, including Jess Phillips who is being talked up as the candidate best equipped to represent the moderate wing of the party. Phillips didn't deny that she could tip her hat into the race in an interview on election night. The scale of defeat means that the leadership contest will be a battle for the soul of Labour. The Labour moderates are determined to get their party back and the Corbynites are determined to keep hold of it.