Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

Starmer warned Labour has ‘no divine right to voters’ as new humiliating polls rock party

Keir Starmer urged to 'learn' from Corbyn by Owen Jones

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Sir Keir Starmer has faced a tough backlash following last week’s catastrophic results at the local elections for the Labour Party. Figures from both the left and right wing of the party, including Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Blair, have admitted that Sir Keir Starmer is not doing enough. Earlier today, former foreign secretary David Miliband warned that Labour has no divine right to exist or to voters. 

Mr Miliband, who remains an influential voice inside the party, spoke to Times Radio after the disastrous set of results, including a historic by-election defeat in Hartlepool.

He suggested that Sir Keir had yet to set out a platform capable of winning an election.

The former foreign secretary said: “A year is a long time in politics. We can’t afford to waste time.

“The only conceivable silver lining of what happened last week is that people now see the writing on the wall and can have a real debate about what is means.”

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He continued: “Since 2010, in successive elections, too many of our party have not wanted to read the writing on the wall.

“Now there seems to be the beginnings of a debate that says look, this writing on this wall is really clear.

“We have no divine right to exist. We have no divine rights to people’s votes.

“And if we don’t speak to their lives in a way that is powerful and credible and forward-looking they’re going to tell us that they’re not voting for us.

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“And anyone in any part of the country can vote for any party. We’ve got to read that writing on the wall and make sure that we don’t dodge its implications.”

The warning is the latest scathing rebuke to Sir Keir from a senior Blairite in the party.

This comes amid another polling blow for Labour and its leader after a new YouGov poll gave the Conservatives a massive 15-point advantage over the opposition.

According to the poll, almost half of Labour’s 2019 voters also thought Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham would make a better leader than Sir Keir. 

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The Tories were up two points in the poll to 45 percent, while Labour dropped three points to 30 percent.

The poor set of election results saw Labour implode into a round of bitter infighting and a botched reshuffle.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner, who Sir Keir tried and failed to demote, told the BBC this week that people “on the doorstep didn’t know what Keir Starmer stood for”.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said that Sir Keir is “struggling to break through with the public” and Labour’s performance in last week’s elections was a “major setback”.

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