Steerpike Steerpike

Keir Starmer changes his tune on Mrs T

(Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)

Has Starmer Chameleon gone too far this time? In his never-ending bid to be all things to all men, the Labour leader has decided that now is the perfect time to tell Middle England of his love for Margaret Thatcher.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph today, Sir Keir declares that: ‘Every moment of meaningful change in modern British politics begins with the realisation that politics must act in service of the British people, rather than dictating to them.’ He continued: ‘Margaret Thatcher sought to drag Britain out of its stupor by setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism,’ adding a plea for ‘disillusioned’ voters to ‘take a look’ at Labour again.

It’s quite the turnaround for a politician who has previously slammed the ‘devastating impact’ of Thatcher’s coal mine closures and asserted that the former Tory prime minister ‘almost destroyed Britain’s manufacturing base’. And only last year, when interviewed by the very same newspaper, Starmer attacked the Iron Lady for being ‘wrong about there being no such thing as society’.

Such rank cynicism has not gone down well across the political spectrum. Conservative ministers have accused the Labour leader of ‘saying anything to get elected’ while Labour campaign group Momentum said that ‘by praising [Thatcher], Starmer brings shame on our party’. By trying to be all things to all men, Starmer ends up being nothing to anyone…

As Mrs T put it herself, ‘standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous: you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides’.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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