Britain: Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is defeated in English Local Elections

Article by Laurence Humphries, RCIT Britain,


In the English local elections on the 6th May 2021 many of the Council elections in places like Sheffield and Durham were won by the Tories. Labour did badly, losing a number of Councils to the Tories. The turnout was quite low in many parts of England with only 29-30 percent. The right-wing leadership of Starmer and his close association with Boris Johnson in the Covid-Counterrevolution meant many working class and Labour supporters stayed at home and did not vote. Starmer has provided no serious opposition to the attack on democratic rights by the Johnson Government. In many respects he has gone further to restrict our freedoms and our rights, supporting the Bourgeoisie’s move towards dictatorship and Bonapartism.


The Conservatives have continued to sweep aside Labour in its traditional north-eastern English heartland. The party lost control of Durham County Council, which it has run since 1925, losing 15 seats as the Tories took 14. This follows the Conservatives winning the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election and receiving 73% of the vote in the Tees Valley mayoral election. The elections are the biggest test of public opinion since the 2019 general election and the first electoral test for Sir Keir Starmer since he became Labour leader last year.” [1]


The Conservatives have made significant gains across England, adding 13 councils and an extra 235 councillors to their overall tally by Sunday. Labour has lost control of eight councils, including Durham County Council.” [2]


The loss of West Hartlepool in the byelection showed that the working class is now drifting away from Labour, which has moved to the right very fast under Starmer’s Leadership. No wonder as he is a professed Zionist and right-wing Blairite. This test of his leadership in the local elections has proved that the Tories and Labour’s policies are perceived as identical in the approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic policies.


Bourgeois commentators have suggested that the situation is so serious that civil war has erupted in Labour. Accusations are thrown about different labour party figures below Starmer.


Labour has plunged into civil war after the Tories demolished a line of Red Wall bricks to claim a stunning victory in England's elections. Keir Starmer's party suffered losses in a swathe of English council seats - including losing control of Durham for the first time in a century - and lost control of Hartlepool for the first time since the 1960s in a by-election. In the Tees Valley mayoral contest, Conservative incumbent the Tees Valley mayoral contest, Conservative incumbent Ben Houchen trounced his Labour rival by a landslide, with 73% of votes to 27%. The West Midlands mayoral race piled on the agony for Labour as reigning mayor Andy Street was comfortably re-elected.” [3]


Starmer has sought to divert the blame for Labour’s defeat on others in the party, particularly his deputy Angela Rayner. Starmer, this former state agent, uses his position as Labour leader to dismiss or sack people he disagrees with. Rayner was directly elected by Labour party members, so Starmer was unable to take any effective action except dismiss and rearrange his Shadow Cabinet.


The centrists of the Socialist Party stood candidates under the banner of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, but they received a paltry number of votes.


SNP and Scottish Nationalists win a comfortable majority in Scotland


In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP won a crushing victory over Labour and the Tories in the Scottish assembly elections. Labour is entirely eclipsed, its former working-class support has evaporated, and Labour came a poor third in the Elections, again behind the Tories. The capitalist regime in Scotland which voted against Brexit is now going to have a stronger hand in pushing for a second referendum for Independence from Britain.


Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to press ahead with plans for a second independence referendum after the Scottish National party won its fourth consecutive Holyrood election, triggering a constitutional battle with Boris Johnson. In a letter issued before the final results were declared, Johnson attempted to blunt Sturgeon’s attack by urging the first minister and her opposite numbers in Wales and Northern Ireland to join a UK-wide Covid recovery summit involving all four governments. It was in the UK’s interests for the governments to work collaboratively, the British prime minister wrote, taking a softer approach than on Friday when called a fresh referendum “irresponsible and reckless.” [4]


Johnson is caught in a dilemma because of the huge support that the SNP received in the Scottish assembly elections. The controversy with Alex Salmond, the former First Minister does not appear to have affected her standing of the SNP in Scotland. The 1701 Act of Union gives Westminster the constitutional right to decide on another Independence referendum.


Welsh Labour Party wins a majority in the Senned (Welsh Assembly)


The Welsh Labour Party (like the SNP in Scotland) again retained a majority in the Senned. Mark Drakeford, the First Minister professes to be a leftist, but all the so-called leftists have supported the Lockdown policy. Like England and Scotland, they have used very restrictive and anti-democratic practices to enforce the Lockdown. They have taken a far more restrictive policy than the Johnson Government again as all capitalist governments have done to curb freedoms and democratic rights and keep people locked up in their homes without any medical supervision. Both in Scotland and Wales, they have used the same Lockdown procedures as in England. The political map shows in these elections that although some restrictions are being removed the tendency of the global capitalist system is towards Bonapartism (likewise intense conflicts between the major powers and war). Both Labour and the SNP provide no real alternative to the Tories but prove that they are all working together to expand exploitation, poverty and mass unemployment. The era of Labour moving to the left (like it happened under Corbyn) is over again. However, it would be wrong to believe that this automatically means the end of Labour on an electoral level.


Labour wins Mayoral Seats and London Assembly


Labour in the major cities was more successful, winning the Mayoral seats in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, West of England, West Yorkshire and London. Labour also won control of the London assembly again. There were also elections for the Police and Crime Commissioners who oversee police authorities, control police budgets, investigate irregularities and wrongful arrests. However, most of these PCC are former MPs in a functionary role with no real power. The capitalist state and its agents adopting their extreme racist policy are arresting, deporting and putting people of colour and migrants from the semi-colonial countries into detention centres like Yarlswood in Bedfordshire. The recent Crime and Police Bill will soon restrict our freedoms even more. It exonerates spy cops and police, helping them to carry out illegal and unlawful acts. This is nothing more than the move towards further Bonapartism.


For a Revolutionary Offensive


British imperialism and capitalism are riven with crisis and decay. The continuing rivalry between the great powers will lead to even more poverty, homelessness, austerity and war. Here in Britain, the ruling class has used the COVID-19 pandemic to impose lockdowns, attacks on democratic rights and prevent the masses and poor to exercise their rights through protest. Curfews have increased, police and military repression was levelling up with new technological weapons. Same is going on all around the world – rising Bonapartism under cover of fighting COVID-19.


The masses meanwhile (although remaining as prisoners in their own homes under no medical supervision) will erupt when a true revolutionary offensive led by a powerful working-class leadership enables them to truly fight back.


The last thing the bourgeoisie wants to do is to improve and widen the health service which is under great pressure. Many doctors and nurses have died because of the austerity policy erupting the health system which becomes more obvious in times of a pandemic. Meanwhile the bourgeoisie during this pandemic has made millions in comparison to the proletariat who remain destitute, poor and starving.


The RCIT has consistently opposed the Lockdown. We warned the masses that it is the bourgeoisie’s role to control of the masses in order that exploitation and oppression continue under an outmoded system that is crashing ever deeper into crisis. It is time that this rotten system is swept away into the dustbin of history. Many reformists, the trade union bureaucracy and centrists defend and are part of this Lockdown policy. In Britain they advocate a policy of “Covid Free Zones everywhere”. They follow the bourgeoisie at every step and are completely obeying to its repressive apparatus. We refer to them as the Lockdown-Left.


One has to add to all this that, as we have pointed out repeatedly in our documents, the authoritarian methods which the ruling class apply in their combat against the pandemic are not particularly efficient. Countries which are putting their population under lockdown – like Italy or Spain – suffer nevertheless the highest numbers of casualties in the world. In contrast, countries like South Korea, which have not put their population under lockdown but applied mass and free testing, have been much more successful. This is all the more remarkable as South Korea has been the first country after China which faced a significant number of people infected by the Corona Virus. There are also other countries which have contained the number of death until now without any mass lockdown of the population.” [5]


In many countries the leaderships of the trade unions and popular organizations agreed to the emergency economic, social and health programs decreed by the bourgeois governments. In several cases, reformist parties were even active promoters of the austerity and state bonapartist programs. A number of self-proclaimed “Trotskyist” organizations share this outlook. The International Marxist Tendency (IMT) led by Alan Woods is an example for social-bonapartism in “Trotskyist” clothes. The IMT’s central statement on the COVID-19 crisis praises the draconic lockdown policy of the Stalinist-capitalist regime in China as an example. It even supports China’s criticism of the lockdown policy of the Italian Conte government that it is not draconic enough.” [6]


The RCIT in BRITAIN puts forward the following policies, calling on the masses and the working class to break from these reformist and centrist parties. We call all revolutionaries to join the RCIT. Help us to build a revolutionary leadership in the working class!


* The task still remains: Organize protests and strikes up to an Indefinite General Strike to overthrow the Johnson Tory Government through Insurrection and the taking of power! Organise every section of the Working Class and the Oppressed. Break and leave the Reformist, Stalinist and Centrist Parties. For a Revolutionary Offensive!


* No to concepts like Covid Free Zones. For a Socialised, Nationalised Health service free at Birth to everyone! Nationalisation of all Pharmaceutical companies under Workers Control without compensation. Expand the Health service, recruit nurses and doctors – but also increase the wage massively for all the health staff! For ventilators, testing without control or coercion by the repression apparatus and their lackeys. A full, safe, and free vaccination programme must be offered but not forced as mandatory! Stop any attempts of prohibiting access to public life (including restaurants, festivals, etc.) for those without vaccinations!


* Nationalise all major Corporations and Multinationals who made profit during the pandemic under Workers Control without compensation! Reject all Hire and Rehire contracts being pursued by employers. No to surveillance and speed up systems as advocated inside Amazon factories! For a truly planned system of production under the control of the masses and the working class!


* For self-defence committees of all oppressed (like women, people of colour, the LGBTQIA2S+ community and any other oppressed group in capitalist Britain)!


* For popular Constitutional assemblies and Councils of Actions! Fight for a Workers Government!


Forward in the Struggle to Build a Truly Revolutionary Socialist International, the 5th International!


Join the RCIT and help us to succeed in these tasks!








(1) Election results 2021: Conservatives hurt Labour in its former heartlands - BBC News,


(2) England local elections 2021 - BBC News,


(3) Local election results in full: Summary of all polls in England, Scotland and Wales - Mirror Online,


(4) SNP election win: Johnson sets up summit as Sturgeon pledges second referendum | Scotland | The Guardian,


(5) I. The peculiar character of the current crisis: a Triple Catastrophe - International Revolution (,


(6) V. The Lockdown Left: A Critique - International Revolution (,