It is too early to call for the leader of the Labour party to resign, according to Basingstoke's Labour leader.

Andy McCormick says that "improvement needs to happen quickly", but that calling for Sir Keir Starmer to resign would be "premature".

He added that the national Labour party had to "get a grip".

There have been calls from the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting Momentum campaign for the Labour leader to stand down after the party lost a parliamentary by-election in Hartlepool this morning.

It's the first time there has been a Conservative MP there since the 1960s.

Speaking to The Gazette at the Hampshire County Council count on Friday evening, Cllr McCormick said about the result: "We saw it coming.

"The internal data and external polls had suggested that the Conservatives were going to get 50 per cent of the vote.

"I don't know the whys and whatfors.

"It is still quite close to the December 2019 resuilt, we have had the pandemic and vaccine rollout.

"I think there are questionmarks for the national party for getting a grip and getting the message out.

"I don't know what good that would do [removing Sir Keir]. He has only been in post for a year but change and improvement needs to happen quickly."