Boris Johnson’s popularity faces key test in a Brexit heartland

SourceEmirates Business
SectorEconomy
CountryMiddle east

The town of Hartlepool in northeast England is the kind of place a Conservative prime minister would ordinarily struggle to find support. One of the most deprived areas of the UK, the blue-collar port saw its steel industry collapse in the 1970s and 80s and the unemployment rate remains among the highest in the country. Politically, it’s backed the Labour Party at every UK election for almost half a century.

But then came Brexit. Hartlepool holds a vote on May 6 that will be a critical test for PM Boris Johnson after his landslide victory in 2019 paved the way to take Britain out of the EU after years of wrangling. It will be a key indicator of whether Johnson’s initial popularity has survived a pandemic that left Britain with the worst death toll in Europe, and whether Brexit supporters still buy into his promise to “level up” the economy.

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