The Conservatives are on track to bag another landslide win at the next general election, with pollsters predicting a further 34 seats will be added to their majority.
Following a crushing local elections for Labour, indications are that there is more misery in store for the party which could soon have just 167 MPs in the House of Commons.
The Tories, conversely, could take a whopping 399 seats, with the SNP having 51 seats and the Liberal Democrats taking just nine.
Batley and Spen by-election
The next test for Sir Keir Starmer will come in Batley and Spen, where a by-election has been called after Tracy Brabin was voted in as the first West Yorkshire mayor.
Losing the by-election would mean “curtains” for the Labour leader, Diane Abbott has said, handing Boris Johnson another brick out of the so-called “red wall”.
Talking to The Guardian, Ms Abbott said: “This West Yorkshire constituency has different demographics from Hartlepool.
“Support from the large minority ethnic electorate may enable the party to hold the seat and Starmer to hang on as Labour leader.
“But if Labour loses again, it must surely be curtains for him.”
She talked up the chances of Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham succeeding Sir Keir, saying another Labour defeat could mean his “time will have come”.
The former health secretary has refused to deny suggestions he could try to make it third time lucky should there be another leadership contest, having lost out in 2010 and 2015.
It comes as the Conservative Party announced its candidate for the Batley and Spen by-election will be Leeds councillor Ryan Stephenson, chairman of the West Yorkshire Tories.
Applications are open for the Labour candidacy, with the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to draw up a shortlist on Saturday and members choosing the final pick on Sunday, sources have confirmed to the PA news agency.
It has not yet been announced when the by-election will be held, but speculation is that late July is being considered.
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