EMBATTLED Sir Keir Starmer could face a leadership coup by the hard-left if he loses tomorrow’s Batley & Spen by-election
Gloomy Labour activists fear the party could end up coming third in the contest – losing the Red Wall seat to the Tories and coming behind George Galloway and his Workers Party.
Corbynista darling Dawn Butler has been forced to deny she would trigger a contest if they lose after growing rumours that she is eyeing a tilt at the top job.
While the Unite trade union – Labour’s biggest union paymaster – is said to be “casting around” for a left-wing candidate they can get behind
One Labour insider told HOAR said activists knocking doors in Batley have warned the party could come third.
They added: “If that happens that’s obviously a huge pressure moment for Keir.”
Sir Keir has faced mounting questions over his leadership after losing the once rock-solid Labour seat of Hartlepool last month.
He is in the midst of reshuffling his top team as he scrambles to try to reassert his grip – but his MPs privately warn it will take more than a few new faces to win back the heartlands
It comes after Labour were embroiled in a political storm for putting out an anti Tory poster in the increasingly bitter by-election
It showed Boris Johnson shaking hands with Indian Hindu PM Narenda Modi with the warning: “Don’t risk a Tory MP who is not on your side.”
Critics accused the party of stoking anti-Indian sentiment among the Pakistani community in the Yorkshire town with the dog whistle pamphlet.
Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater refused to apologise.
She told the BBC yesterday: “I don’t think it is a mistake. I think that leaflet is about human rights and it’s about having an MP who is going to speak out on the human rights issues in Kashmir.
“And, sadly, we’ve got a Prime Minister who isn’t doing that, he isn’t challenging the Indian government around these issues.
“So you need someone who can, and that’s exactly what I would do.”