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Labour’s Keir Starmer avoided questions over whether he would reshuffle his frontbench three times in a terse interview over his party’s election performance.
The party leader said he was still up to the job and would fix things personally, adding he would set out changes to the party in the next few days to reconnect to voters.
Labour could still set out a vision to the country that focused on injustice and inequality but must “face the country,” he suggested.
His remarks came after the party lost the Hartlepool by-election to the Tories and several major councils.
Asked if he would reshuffle his shadow cabinet, he said: “We’ve lost four General Elections. We’ve just had a bitterly disappointing set of results last night. This goes way beyond a reshuffle or personalities. It’s about focusing the Labour party on the country and making sure we close the gap between the Labour party and the country.”
Asked for a second time if he would reshuffle his top team, he repeated his previous answer, adding: “It goes to the core issue of whether Labour is talking to itself or the country.”
On a third attempt, he said: “We’ve been losing elections for ten or 11 years and this is much more fundamental than a reshuffle, or personalities.”
Asked if he would set out a new policy agenda, he said he would set out a strong case to the country and accepted they had rebuild trust with working people, particularly in places like Hartlepool.
He added that he wouldn’t discuss new policies in a TV interview.
Some of his top team spent days campaigning in Hartlepool, including shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon – who coordinated the campaign in the area – and shadow chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster, Rachel Reeves.
Shadow ministers Wes Streeting and Peter Kyle were also there for the final days of the campaign.