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Labour sacks Angela Rayner as party chair after election upset – reports

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Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner has been sacked as party chair, according to several media reports. Rayner’s firing comes after leader Keir Starmer said he would take “full responsibility” for Labour’s poor performance.

Rayner was sacked on Saturday, according to numerous reports in the British media. With counting still ongoing, Labour has lost more than 200 council seats in local elections across the country, and a Parliament seat in Hartlepool – which had been held by Labour since 1974.

Rayner reportedly remains the party’s deputy leader, which is an elected position.

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Labour leader Keir Starmer has been hammered for his party’s performance, especially as it came two years after Labour’s worst general election showing since 1935. Starmer sought to move the party toward the centre after the left-wing leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, but has so far failed to deliver the goods.

Starmer said on Friday that he was “bitterly disappointed,” and promised to take “full responsibility for the results.” However, commenters online wondered where sacking Rayner fitted into this promise.

Sir Keir yesterday: I take full responsibility.

Sir Keir today: It was Angela Rayner’s fault.

— Tom Harwood (@tomhfh) May 8, 2021

Angela Rayner is one of the Labour Party’s most authentic communicators, and with a northern accent. Not totally clear tonight how her sacking helps win back the red wall.

— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) May 8, 2021

With Angela Rayner and Keir Starmer, reminded of Gordon Brown’s quote about Damian McBride: “I take full responsibility for what happened. That’s why the person who was responsible went immediately.”

— Sebastian Payne (@SebastianEPayne) May 8, 2021

A Labour Party source denied that Starmer was shirking responsibility. “Keir said he was taking full responsibility for the result of the elections – and he said we need to change,” the source told several outlets. “That means change how we run our campaigns in the future. Angela will continue to play a senior role in Keir’s team.”

Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood offered an alternative explanation for Labour’s drubbing at the ballot box. “Labour has lost touch with ordinary British people,” Mahmood wrote in Policy Exchange on Friday.

“A London-based bourgeoisie, with the support of brigades of woke social media warriors, has effectively captured the party,” he complained, adding that “the loudest voices in the Labour movement … have focused more on pulling down Churchill’s statue than they have on helping people pull themselves up in the world.”

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