00:42 GMT13 June 2021
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    In UK local elections on 6 May, the Conservative Party managed to gain 294 councillors across the country, while Labour lost 267.

    In an opinion piece for the news outlet New Statesman, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair focused on the Labour Party's condition in light of its disastrous defeat during last week's local elections.

    In the 6 May polls, Labour lost 267 councillors across the UK, whereas the Tories gained 294. Notably, the Conservatives prevailed in Hartlepool, a northern English town that has historically been a Labour stronghold.

    As for Blair's article, it predicted that "without total change Labour will die", insisting that Keir Starmer's party "needs total deconstruction and reconstruction".

    Former British prime minister Tony Blair gives a speech on Brexit at the Institute for Government in central London, Monday Sept. 2, 2019
    © AP Photo / Aaron Chown
    Former British prime minister Tony Blair gives a speech on Brexit at the Institute for Government in central London, Monday Sept. 2, 2019
    "Nothing less will do", the ex-British prime minister argued as he dubbed last week's local elections "a major setback".

    In an apparent reference to former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Blair went on to note that "the Labour Party is now scratching its collective head and wondering why the replacement of an extremist with someone more moderate isn't achieving the miracle renaissance, […] even asking whether Keir is the right leader".

    The former UK PM described Starmer as an "intelligent, capable, [and] moderate-minded" person, warning, however, that Labour "won't revive simply by a change of leader".

    "At present, Labour expresses perfectly the progressive dilemma. Corbyn was radical but not sensible. Keir seems sensible but not radical. He lacks a compelling economic message. And the cultural message, because he is not clarifying it, is being defined by the 'woke' left, whose every statement gets cut-through courtesy of the right", Blair asserted.

    The remarks came a few days after Starmer sacked Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds, in a major reshuffle of his team following Labour's local election flop.

    A Labour activist carries a flag outside Leeds Town Hall (File)
    © AP Photo / Rui Vieira
    A Labour activist carries a flag outside Leeds Town Hall (File)

    Dodds will now serve as the party's chair, replacing deputy leader Angela Rayner, who was fired by Starmer on Saturday. Rayner replaced Rachel Reeves, who was promoted from shadow cabinet office minister to shadow chancellor.

    In an additional to the reshuffle, Newcastle East MP Nick Brown has been sacked from his role as shadow chief whip and replaced by Sir Alan Campbell.

    FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 23, 2019 file photo, Britain's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks on stage during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, England
    © AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth
    The Labour leader did not mince words when saying ahead of his team's shake-up that he takes responsibility for the party's loss in local elections and that the defeat is "entirely" on him.

    The latest YouGov polling has, meanwhile, given Starmer a net rating of minus 48, with two-thirds of voters claiming that he is doing badly. The results proved even worse than the minus 40 that Corbyn recorded before UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson won the December 2019 UK general election.

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    loss, local elections, Tory, UK Labour Party, Keir Starmer, Tony Blair, Britain
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