Labour activist Paul Embery told Nigel Farage on GB News that the result was a 'squeak' and 'no cause to start popping champagne corks'. Given the main demographic of Labour's activist base in Batley, champagne was clearly out of the question, but after a few hours kip Starmer did make his way up to celebrate in person. Cue photos of Starmer and new MP Kim Leadbeater punching the air, as Starmer declared 'Labour is back' in a hastily edited video and 'Labour's coming home' in a cringeworthy tweet.
Despite Starmer's wild posturing, Labour didn't win this seat from anybody - they merely held a seat that had been Labour since 1997. 11 years into opposition this was in fact a dreadful result and if repeated across the north of England in a general election the party would lose countless red bricks - including those of Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) and Ed Miliband (Doncaster North).
Labour would also lose the following seats to the Conservatives: Barnsley East, Doncaster Central, Hemsworth, Houghton & Sunderland South, Lancaster & Fleetwood, Oldham East & Saddleworth, Rotherham, Stalybridge & Hyde, Stockton North, Sunderland Central, Wansbeck, Warrington North, Weaver Vale, Wentworth & Dearne, Wirral West and Worsley & Eccles South. This is not to mention the many more seats that the party would lose in the Midlands and Wales.
The result in Batley and Spen is a clear example that Labour is continuing to go backwards, not forwards.