Keir Starmer heckled during Labour conference speech
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Mr Starmer yesterday delivered his closing speech at the Labour Party conference, where he hit out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the current fuel crisis. The Labour leader described Mr Johnson as a “trivial man” and “a trickster who’s played his one trick” and called the Prime Minister’s Conservative government “lost in the woods”. He added: “Once he said the words, ‘get Brexit done’, his plan ran out ‒ there is no plan.”
Mr Starmer battled away heckles from those on the left of his party while delivering his conference speech in Brighton, where he sought to draw a line under Jeremy Corbyn’s era of influence.
A day earlier the opposition leader appeared to admit he was willing to break the 10 pledges he made during the Labour leadership election if it were to make the party electable.
He told BBC News: “I stand by the principles and the values behind the pledges I made to our members, but the most important pledge I made was that I would turn it into a party that would be fit for government, capable of winning a General Election, I’m not going to be deflected from that.”
Mr Starmer won large swathes of support from Labour’s left in the contest to replace Corbyn after he issued a list of 10 pledges which aimed to continue key elements of his predecessor’s policies.
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However, as noted by political website Guido Fawkes, Mr Starmer has arguably broken all of his pledges since taking charge of Labour.
Starmer’s first pledge of ‘economic justice’, which many interpreted to mean raising taxes, was undermined last year by his now-Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves.
Last year Ms Reeves repeatedly refused to back her party leader’s promise to raise taxes on those earning over £80,000, while on Monday she reiterated to Channel 4 News: “I have no plans whatsoever to increase income tax.”
Mr Starmer’s second pledge of ‘social justice’ was also compromised by shadow employment minister Andy McDonald’s resignation over the Labour leader’s refusal to back a £15 minimum wage.
In his resignation letter, Mr McDonald told Mr Starmer that “after 18 months of your leadership, our movement is more divided than ever and the pledges that you made to the membership are not being honoured”.
On the weekend’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Starmer also refused to support public ownership of energy companies, despite his third pledge being ‘climate justice’ during the Labour Leadership campaign.
However Labour announced today they would tackle climate change by retrofitting 19 million homes over a decade, which would save families more than £400 a year.
Mr Starmer’s fourth pledge was to ‘promote peace and human rights’, yet in May Labour Palestinian members accused the party of “ignoring them” over a growing feeling the party was “drifting from anti-colonial principles”.
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On Tuesday, Labour delegates also demanded sanctions against Israel for its “apartheid” policy towards Palestinians yet Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy distanced herself from the motion, as did Mr Starmer in June 2020.
Mr Starmer broke his fifth pledge of ‘common ownership’ by coming out against the public ownership of energy as previously mentioned.
Last Year Ms Nandy also told Politics Live that public ownership was just “one way” and “another way” was to give “people more control.”
This is in contrast to former labour leader Ed Miliband, who said on Newsnight this week: “If we’re going to make this green transition, then public ownership is the right way to go.”
Mr Starmer’s sixth pledge to ‘defend migrant rights’ was also compromised after Ms Reeves confirmed this week Labour would not bring back freedom of movement.
The Shadow Chancellor said: “People have voted to leave the EU and we need to move on ‒ at the moment it’s just an ad-hoc process.”
Mr Starmer’s seventh pledge to ‘strengthen workers rights and trade unions’ was also undermined by the Unite hierarchy turning on the Labour leader after he controversially proposed to scrap the party’s one member one vote election system.
Unite national officer Rob MacGregor also blasted Keir Starmer’s conference speech and claimed Labour needed a leader “as angry as we are about the harm being done to our workers.”
The eight pledge, promising ‘radical devolution of power, wealth and opportunity’ was also wildly contradicted last year when he told the Scotsman “we can’t have four nations pulling in different directions.”
Mr Starmer’s ninth of 10 pledges is ‘equality’, which Mr Starmer arguably broke by declining to call Rosie Duffield’s comments transphobic after she claimed “only women have a cervix.”
Mr Starmer did however insist on the Andrew Marr Show: “It is something that shouldn’t be said ‒ it is not right.”
Last year he also infamously dubbed the Black Lives Matter movement as “a moment” and angered the very left of the Labour party by saying the group’s demand to defund the police was “nonsense”.
Mr Starmer’s final pledge was to be an ‘effective opposition to the Tories’.
In YouGov’s latest polling published on August 29, only 20 percent of people think he is doing a good job while a staggering 59 percent think he’s doing badly.
One MP from the left of the party told the New Statesman this week: “Keir won very convincingly on those 10 pledges. If he wants to change to a different set of pledges, he should stand on those.”
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