Voters across the country will go to the polls tomorrow to cast their ballot in local elections as well as the public in Hartlepool electing a new MP. The polls are the first electoral test for Labour since Sir Keir Starmer became leader.
Internal data suggests the party is set for a historic loss, with the Conservatives likely to easily sweep to victory.
Only about 40 percent of former Labour voters plan to back the party again in tomorrow’s election.
Labour staff and volunteers have now succumbed to the fact they have little chance of holding on to the Hartlepool seat tomorrow.
One Labour insider told The Guardian: “If we were knocking on every single door and getting 40 percent, we could win it, depending on how it splits.
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“But we’re only getting about 40 percent of people who we think are Labour, so it’s not great.”
Hartlepool has elected a Labour MP ever since the constituency’s creation in 1974, and at one point was won by Peter Mandleson with a majority of more than 17,000.
It was even won under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in 2019 when many similar constituencies voted Conservative for the first time under Boris Johnson’s pledge to “get Brexit done”.
Hartlepool is one of the few remaining so-called “red wall” seats of traditional Labour voters the party could usually rely on to win.
The fears of less than half of former Labour supporters backing the party this time is thought to be based on the canvassing of more than 10,000 people in the town.
A Labour source added they were in “huge trouble”.
READ MORE: Lisa Nandy admits defeat in Hartlepool by-election
He told BBC Breakfast yesterday: “My job as Labour leader, I set out very, very clearly was to take the Labour Party from where it was in December 2019.
“And put it in a position where we can win and will win the next general election. That is a mountain to climb.
“I didn’t think and I don’t think many people realistically thought that that could be done in 12 or 13 months, that was always going to take longer. But these are a very important set of elections.
“Obviously, across the country, there will be different results, but I will take responsibility, whatever the results are.”
Mr Johnson has sought to play down suggestions the Tories are set to easily win Hartlepool.
Warning it is a difficult seat to win, on the eve of polling he urged all Brits to cast their ballot.
He said: “These are tough contests and Hartlepool in particular you’d have to say, that hasn’t been a Conservative since its inception – 46 years ago or whatever it was.
“So I think that will be a very tough fight but I hope everybody gets out to vote.”