Keir Starmer courts headlines as he makes push for Labour leadership
After the general election in December, it is no surprise that the Opposition in parliament has been relatively quiet.
Boris Johnson and the Conservatives were given the enormous advantage of an 80 seat majority by the electorate and, unsurprisingly Jeremy Corbyn resigned from his position as leader.
The Tories are bathing in the glory of their success, but it seems that Keir Starmer is now keen to grab some headlines himself and add momentum and interest in his bid to replace Corbyn at the helm of the party.
He is not only commenting publicly on issues of the day, but also attending to internal Labour party issues that he sees as having strangled their message to the electorate.
Firstly, he has emerged over the parapet with regards to the recent controversy over the selection of journalists allowed in Downing Street.
It was widely reported this week that when the press assembled at the PM’s home to be briefed on their post-Brexit trade policy, journalists were asked to line up on either side of a corridor , with only one grouping invited to the briefing.
Outraged by the apparent favouritism, and an apparent desire to cut freedom of speech, all of those in attendance walked out in disgust.
Starmer picked up their disgust and called on the cabinet secretary to investigate the incident. Citing the blatant disregard of, “integrity, objectivity and impartiality”, he highlighted the need fo political impartiality when it came to press access to No. 10.
Of course freedom of the press is key to any democracy and the implication that Johnson is beginning to shape a Trumpian policy towards them is something that Starmer is clearly keen to step up and comment on.
Secondly having criticised the PM’s style of governance, he turned his attention to matters in his own backyard, offering an ‘eight-point plan’ to shake up the workings of the Labour Party itself. Overshadowed by anti-semitic scandals over Corbyn’s reign, Starmer is insisting that he will shake up the National FCfonstitutional Committee (NCC) which handles complaints about racism, seism and the like to make the party a more efficient and compassionate one.
He explained, “"All members and communities must have confidence in the rigour and independence of our disciplinary procedures. We should extend auto-exclusion to include expressions of clear cut racism including anti-semitism."
These words will be both comforting and reassuring to the membership, who recognise that Corbyn never addressed internal Labour Party issues credibly, and is sure to further Starmer’s campaign.
He has been the frontrunner with the bookies and pollsters alike since Corbyn stepped aide and although Long-Bailey has a lot of support from the Unions, with his comments the week Starmer looks to be cementing this position.