Keir Starmer Says More Work Needed Despite Wins in Wellingborough and Kingswood By-Elections


Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, has stated that there is “more work to do” despite the party’s recent victories in two by-elections against the Conservatives. The Labour Party managed to overturn majorities of 11,220 in Kingswood and 18,540 in Wellingborough, leading to a 28.5% swing from the Tories to Labour. This is the second largest swing in any post-war by-election.

While Starmer expressed pride in these results, he also cautioned against complacency. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged that “midterm” polls are often challenging for governments and that the circumstances surrounding these elections were particularly difficult.

The by-elections were triggered by the removal of former MP Peter Bone due to disgraceful conduct and Chris Skidmore’s resignation in protest against government plans for new North Sea oil and gas licenses. Sunak interpreted the results as a sign that the Conservative Party needs to prove its commitment to delivering on people’s priorities.

Despite these setbacks, Sunak remains confident in his party’s plan and believes it will bring about the change that the country needs. The by-elections saw a turnout of 37% in Kingswood and 38% in Wellingborough, which is around half of the figure in 2019 but close to the average for by-elections in this Parliament.

Starmer believes that the country is desperate for change and that his party is different from what it was in 2019. He assured voters that Labour has solutions to their problems but acknowledged that there is always more work to do.

These results have increased pressure on the Conservatives, who have suffered 10 by-election losses in this parliament – more than any other government since the 1960s. The Labour Party’s victories were led by Gen Kitchen in Wellingborough and Damien Egan in Kingswood.

The Conservatives also faced challenges from Reform UK, which achieved its best by-election result since its rebranding from the Brexit Party in 2021. The party came third in both by-elections, securing 13% of the vote in Wellingborough and 10.4% in Kingswood.

Despite a difficult week for Labour, which included dropping its flagship pledge to spend £28bn a year on green projects and withdrawing support for its candidate in the upcoming Rochdale by-election over controversial comments, Starmer remains committed to taking decisive action against antisemitism.

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