Keir Starmer is in ‘big trouble’ with Labour voters says Bridgen
It comes as Sir Keir opposed many of the measures announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget. His stance on fiscal policy, most notably Mr Sunak’s plans to hike corporation tax to to 25 percent in 2023, has stirred much controversy. Sir Keir and Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the move would stifle economic growth, punishing many businesses that have been hit hardest during the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
This was itself met with opposition from both the “hyper-Corbynite” element of Labour, as was described to Express.co.uk, but also the wider party membership.
In addition to this, the Labour leader is also attempting to counterweight his gradually diminishing popularity among the British public, after enjoying a period of soaring approval ratings last year.
It all proves, claimed Paul Embery, a leading trade unionist and Labour member, that Sir Keir has a “mountain to climb” and must revamp the party.
He said that in order to move forward, the leader must “overhaul” much of the outfit’s modern Left ideology, which has been continued since the fall of former leader Jeremy Corbyn by the likes of Angela Rayner, John McDonnell and Richard Burgon.
Angela Rayner: Keir Starmer was called on to overhaul the party’s modern Left ideology
Labour Party: Rayner, now deputy leader, was prominent under Jeremy Corbyn
Mr Embery told Express.co.uk: “There’s a mountain to climb, and it’s not just about him as a leader – it’s about the whole ideology of the party, it’s about the demographic of the party.
“All of that needs radical change.
“It can’t just happen with Starmer getting his messaging out, there needs to be a complete overhaul of the party, and a change in the makeup of Labour.”
Ms Rayner, who was a prominent Corbynite, has since been promoted to deputy leader of the party under Sir Keir.
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Keir Starmer: The Labour leader opposed the Government’s corporation tax hikes
While she is likely to stay loyal, echoing Sir Keir’s concerns over the Budget, others, claimed Steven Fielding, Professor of Political History at the University of Nottingham, might now start to question his direction.
This is especially true of those outside the more radical circles, who have been traditionally seen to support Sir Keir’s vision for Labour post-Corbyn.
Professor Fielding told Express.co.uk: “Some people have a sense of unease about Starmer and the direction he’s taking the party, they view him as a sort of Trojan Horse.
“That’s how they see him, and for some of them, it fits into their nightmare scenario, that Keir Starmer is Tony Blair reborn.”
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Meanwhile, Sir Keir was heavily criticised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson before the Budget announcement, after he used the opportunity to attack Mr Johnson on the Government’s Yemen stance.
Following repeated questions about the reason for the cut in aid to what has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, Mr Johnson said: “He could have asked anything about the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Speaker, instead he’s concentrated his questions entirely to the interests of the people of Yemen.”
He asked why his opponent had not limited his grilling to “the issues of the hour”, to which Sir Keir laughed.
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Before the Budget, Britain announced it would more than halve the amount of foreign aid it sends to Yemen this year.
This flew in the face of calls from Labour, as well as a warning from the UN that millions of people are set to go hungry, with hundreds of thousands already facing famine.
It is at least one political issue that Sir Keir and the rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party agree on.
Yemen crisis: Millions of people have been displaced by the crisis, with famine rife
In a statement, the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development said: “Slashing life-saving support to Yemen, the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, in the middle of a pandemic when millions stand on the brink of famine is appalling.”
Mr Johnson countered this and said his Government had raised foreign aid spending while admitting that “straitened circumstances” – the pandemic – had forced a temporary reduction.