Labour narrowly avoided defeat this time, but it must face up to the long-term damage caused by Corbyn and the hard left’s years in charge

The Batley by-election was the most bitter, divisive and depressing contest for decades.

Keir Starmer will have breathed a huge sigh of relief at Labour’s narrow victory. He would have faced a leadership challenge had he lost another seat to the Conservatives. He has Kim Leadbeater and her supporters to thank for that. Her priority will be to heal the division the election caused.

The blame for the poisonous campaign should be laid at the feet of George Galloway. It is very good news the veteran rabble rouser lost his seventh contest in a row, but the election raises serious questions that should trouble us all.

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