Red Wall rebuilt on historic night but Reform poses new threat to Labour

Rishi Sunak conceded defeat to Labour as YouTuber Omilana Niko mocked his loss. Credit: PA

Rishi Sunak taking to the stage to concede defeat as a YouTube star held an 'L for Loser' sign over his shoulder said it all.

It was just the latest in a string of unfortunate election images which have come to define the Conservatives' campaign, right from its rainy start.

Sunak might have known Yorkshire's Red Wall was a lost cause, but one of his major missteps was ignoring the region entirely, barely showing up on the campaign trail.

2019 voters here who trusted the Tories already felt betrayed, and now they've flocked back to Labour.

The Red Wall has not just been rebuilt — it’s been reinforced.

Penistone and Stocksbridge, a major Tory victory in 2019, has swung back to Labour, with Marie Tidball securing 44% of the vote.

The same story plays out in Doncaster East, the Isle of Axholme, Shipley, and Great Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

Labour even conquered new ground — York Outer and Scarborough and Whitby, both Tory for decades, are now painted red.

There's plenty of reason for Labour to celebrate. The regional map, once splattered with red, is now virtually a solid block.

But as the dust settles and election hangovers kick in, Keir Starmer and his colleagues have some thinking to do.

Many victories are slimmer than they’d like.

Take Bradford West. Naz Shah won with a 27,000 majority in 2019. Now, she holds the seat by just 707 votes.

Reform UK is snapping at Labour’s heels in several areas. In Barnsley North, Reform came second, despite their candidate, Robert Lomas, being disowned for offensive language.

Reform were expected to win in Ashfield, where Lee Anderson kept the seat having defected from the Tories, but their victory in the form of Richard Tice in Boston and Skegness was a shock.

In Dewsbury and Batley, it’s an independent, Iqbal Mohamed, who ousted Labour with a pro-Palestine campaign.

To steal a phrase from Rishi Sunak - the first Yorkshire MP to be PM (although not for long) - the parties all have some thinking to do.

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