Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won an election for a new member of parliament in the northern English town of Hartlepool, breaking Labour’s decades-long hold and tightening the prime minister’s grip on traditional opposition-supporting areas.
onservative candidate Jill Mortimer won by a large margin, securing what less than a decade ago would have been seen as impossible feat of dislodging the main opposition Labour Party from one of its heartland seats in northern England.
The victory, which gives Johnson an even larger majority in parliament, will increase pressure on Labour leader Keir Starmer, who has faced criticism for not fulfilling his pledge to revive the party’s fortunes after a 2019 election disaster.
“This is a historic result,” said Conservative Party Co-Chairman Amanda Milling after the ballot count on Friday.
The result is seen as approval for Johnson’s handling of the vaccine rollout and delivering Brexit.
Momentum, the left-wing Labour group set up during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, tweeted after the Hartlepool defeat: “This result is a disaster.
“In 2017, we won over 50% of the vote in Hartlepool. Now it looks like we’ve lost it to the Tories.
“A transformative socialist message has won in Hartlepool before, and it would have won again.”