‘Trendy Metropolitan Labour’ Lost Working Class Who Will ‘Will Never Return’, Says Farage

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Nigel Farage has said that the “trendy metropolitan” Labour Party has permanently lost the working classes after the Conservatives took Hartlepool from Labour in a by-election.

For the first time since the constituency was formed in 1974, the Brexit-backing, working-class town of Hartlepool in the north of England went from Labour red to Tory blue. The remarkable upset for the Labour Party echoed the outcome of the December 2019 election when vast swathes of the ‘Red Wall’ — areas of industrial England that traditionally vote Labour — voted Tory because Boris Johnson promised to deliver Brexit and Labour pledged a second referendum.

In Hartlepool, the Conservatives won 51.9 per cent of the vote — far more than Labour, which as runner up gained just 28.7 per cent. Labour did not learn its lesson from the last general election, however, because despite the Brexit-backing makeup of the constituency, it chose as its candidate Paul Williams, who campaigned to remain in the EU.

The Tories also had a good night in local elections, with even bellwether constituency Nuneaton seeing a crushing defeat of Labour in its local council.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage observed the trend, saying on Friday: “The trendy metropolitan Labour party lost the working classes first to UKIP and now on a huge scale to the Tories. They will never return.”

Ann Widdecombe, Conservative Party grandee and Brexit Party MEP, condemned Labour for having “insulted” the people of Hartlepool by choosing a Remain-backing candidate.

“Seventy per cent of Hartlepool voters backed Brexit in the referendum and the choice of a pro-EU candidate could be construed as an insult: the act of a party remote in Westminster, dismissive of the views of its own supporters and prepared to take those supporters sniffily for granted,” Ms Widdecombe wrote for the i newspaper.

She concluded along the same lines as Mr Farage, that Labour leadership, driven by the metropolitan elites, was at an insurmountable distance to its working class, patriotic voters: “The crisis for Labour will inevitably be portrayed as its right versus its left, but its real problem is the distance between the leaders and the led and between the metropolitan elite and the Labour heartlands. If those heartlands really do benefit from a Boris ‘levelling-up’, the blue dye will spread and spread.”

It was not just politicians on the right who sensed that Labour was still too far away from its working-class roots and had not learnt from its performance in December 2019.

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood announced he had resigned his post as shadow defence secretary after the Hartlepool defeat on account of the party having been taken over by “a London-based bourgeoisie, with the support of brigades of woke social media warriors”, adding his fear that Labour had “veered towards an anti-British attitude” that voters had picked up on.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer took responsibility for the Hartlepool loss, admitting on Friday that his party had been “talking to ourselves instead of the country and lost the trust of working people, particularly in places like Hartlepool”.

Cabinet ministers reportedly speaking to The Times predict that Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be heading for a decade-long premiership, in part due to Labour losing touch with its roots.

The source said: “Labour haven’t represented working-class patriotic voters for a while. They’re too woke, too Islington metropolitan elite. They’re becoming a London party. Boris is a unique politician. If he wants he could do what Thatcher did and then some.”

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