SIR Keir Starmer faces a leadership threat if his Red Wall rebuilding mission flops this week.
Senior party figures fear the party chief has failed to exorcise the ghost of ex-leader Jeremy Corbyn in his year since taking on the role.
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The Tories are expected to win town hall control in Dudley, Northumberland and Derby with Labour set to lose control in Bury, a poll predicts.
Labour could lose up to 88 council seats with the Tories claiming up to 122 council seats across the North, YouGov found.
But there was better news for Labour last night as the Tories polled 40 per cent, just one point ahead of Labour.
Worryingly for PM Boris Johnson, in the 43 Red Wall seats won in 2019 Starmer’s party is polling on 45 per cent — giving them a point lead over the Tories.
It comes on the back of an Electoral Commission probe into the funding of renovations of the PM’s Downing Street flat and after No10 denied claims he would let “bodies pile high” rather than enforce a Covid lockdown.
'HE HAS TO DELIVER'
But trouble could be brewing for Starmer, yesterday seen cuddling a dog on an election walkabout in Seaton Carew, Co Durham.
A senior figure on the Left of the party said: “He has to get a good set of results this week picking up Hartlepool, mayoralties and increase the number of council seats.
“These are normal expectations at this time of an election cycle, he has to deliver.
“It’s not enough to say he is a new leader and he has swept the party clean.”
One Labour MP said: “There will be an overhang from Corbyn and Brexit and I’m not sure if time has moved on far enough for them to come back in the heartlands. It may take ten, 15 years.”
The Tories expect their losses to run into four figures on Thursday, saying they start from a “high base” from when the seats were last fought in 2017.
They claim Labour will benefit hugely from a post-Corbyn bounce after the former leader lost more than 500 council seats while leader.
Conservative co-chair Amanda Milling said the party was fighting “tooth and nail” for votes.
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