Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has been sacked as party chairman and coordinator, according to sources.

The shock move comes after the party’s poor showing at the local elections.

Labour lost control of a host of councils and suffered defeat at the hands of Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the Hartlepool by-election – the first time the constituency has gone blue since its inception in the 1970s.

Ms Rayner will remain the party’s deputy leader as that is an elected position.

It is understood she met with leader Sir Keir Starmer in person to discuss her removal from the position of party chair.

A statement from a source released to Sky News said: ‘Keir said he was taking full responsibility for the result of the elections – and he said we need to change. That means change how we run our campaigns in the future. Angela will continue to play a senior role in Keir’s team.’

The sacking signals cracks at the top of the party, with rows over who was to blame for the election strategy.

Sky News quoted one insider as saying:  ‘This sacking isn’t about Angela. She’s a scapegoat, simple as. The major faults that were political are at [senior aide] Jenny Chapman’s feet.’

BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted: ‘As first move in a reshuffle that’s very likely this isn’t going to be universally popular – Rayner popular with members and Starmer said yday he takes full responsibility for the campaign…’

Speaking on Friday, leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ with the results and vowed to take responsibility and to fix Labour’s election woes.

More to follow