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Keir Starmer’s revisionist history

Keir Starmer has clearly decided that in order to win over the membership he must appear sympathetic to Corbyn and Corbynism. His campaign launch video was a masterclass in repositioning, presenting the soft-left Starmer as some kind of socialist stalwart. Indeed, speaking at the Fabian Society conference this afternoon, the frontrunner was asked by the Evening Standard‘s Ayesha Hazarika how he would win over those, ‘who may worry that you have been too close to the past leadership?’

Starmer replied:

I don’t accept this argument that everybody should have refused to serve under Jeremy Corbyn and we should have left our frontbench empty for five years so the Tories could wreck the country. I just don’t accept it.

A principled stand from Mr Starmer. He went on to tell the crowd: ‘It would have been a dereliction of duty for me to sit on the backbenches with nobody at the dispatch box whilst Theresa May and Johnson did what the hell they liked.’ Fiery stuff.

But would that be the same Keir Starmer who, just days after the 2016 referendum, announced that he was ‘duty bound’ to resign from those very same frontbenches in order to hasten Corbyn’s downfall?

Mr S thinks that such an airbrushing of history might represent a ‘dereliction of duty’ to those Labour party members that Sir Keir QC is trying to win over.

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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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