Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has been sacked from her role as chairman after the party’s poor showing in the Super Thursday elections.
Labour received a drubbing in the local elections, losing control of a host of councils and suffering defeat at the hands of Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the Hartlepool by-election – the first time the constituency has gone blue since its inception in the 1970s.
The sacking signals cracks at the top of the party, with rows over who was to blame for the election strategy.
Speaking on Friday, leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “bitterly disappointed” with the results and vowed to take responsibility and to fix Labour’s election woes.
A Labour source said: "Keir said he was taking full responsibility for the result of the elections - and he said we need to change.
"That means change how we run our campaigns in the future. Angela will continue to play a senior role in Keir's team."
Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the decision to remove Angela Rayner as Labour’s chairman and campaigns chief was a “cowardly avoidance of responsibility”.
The senior party figure tweeted: “Keir Starmer said yesterday that he took full responsibility for the election result in Hartlepool and other losses.
“Instead today he’s scapegoating everyone apart from himself.
“This isn’t leadership, it’s a cowardly avoidance of responsibility.”
Why has Labour sacked Angela Rayner? ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen has more
As well as the shock defeat in Hartlepool, Labour had a net loss of six councils and more than 200 seats in the local elections, losing control of the likes of Harrow, Essex, and Plymouth local authorities in the process.
The party also failed to topple Tory mayoral incumbents in the Tees Valley and the West Midlands, although did produce a surprise victory in the West of England mayoral contest and comfortable wins in Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region.
Richard Burgon MP, former shadow justice secretary and prominent left-wing critic, has called for a bespoke party conference to produce a plan to reverse Labour’s polling fortunes in the aftermath of the losses.
“Instead of making progress in the key areas we need to win back, at these elections we’ve gone backwards – this can’t go on,” he tweeted.
“There should now be a special Labour Party conference where the leadership outlines its plan to turn this around and seeks the confidence of the party for it.”
Listen to our politics podcast, Calling Peston: