THERE will be huge relief in the Labour leader's camp following the party clinging on to the Batley and Spen seat by the slimmest of margins – just 323 votes.

It is incredible to think that, after 10 years of Conservative-led government and just days after Matt Hancock's fall, the Tories are still popular enough to come so close to taking a seat that Labour has held since 1997.

There was a three per cent swing from Labour to Conservatives, which would mean another 11 Labour seats would fall if there were a general election tomorrow.

There were lots of local issues in a deeply, and disappointingly, unpleasant campaign, but George Galloway and the Labour left presented the vote almost as a referendum on Sir Keir Starmer's leadership.

So he has clung on. He is refreshing his team – including moving on the former Darlington MP Jenny Chapman – and a relaunch is ready for next week. He has to find some key areas in which Labour has innovative policy ideas, such as education.

But people are still voting along Brexit-lines, which is why traditional Labour areas continue to be drawn to the Tories, so he also has to present a vision of what Labour stands for in this new world of the 21st Century.