Steerpike

Starmer’s dreadful day

Starmer's dreadful day
(Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
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With Truss and Sunak tearing chunks out of each other, inflation soaring and a cost-of-living crisis looming, you might have thought Labour would have the next election in the bag. But you can always trust the party to pull defeat from the jaws of victory, as the events of the past day have just shown once again.

First, Sir Keir Starmer was found guilty of breaching the MPs’ code of conduct by failing to properly register more than £120,000 in land deals, corporate donations and Premier League tickets. He was forced to apologise to parliamentary ethics watchdog Kathryn Stone after the errors were uncovered. This was despite the Labour leader previously declaring that he was 'absolutely confident' that no rules had been broken. Whoops! And during his 2020 leadership bid, Starmer promised to 'always carry the can' for his mistakes if he won. But his statement last night instead referred to 'an administrative error within my office' and 'an administrative oversight by my office.' So much for full responsibility, eh?

Then today footage emerged of another promise which Starmer made when he was running for the leadership. It shows the then Shadow Brexit secretary sporting a pair of nifty trainers and addressing a picket line of striking UCU staff. He told the assembled academics that 'It's really important that you get politicians to come out and support you and stand with you in this... my leadership, if I win it, will be standing with you and other campaigns like you so that we can win issues like this which are so important.' But now though Starmer has imposed a ban on shadow cabinet ministers attending picket lines, which does of course raise the question as to whether he was being duplicitous or merely naive when he made those earlier comments.

Don't count on Starmer taking any responsibility for the strikes farce anytime soon though...

Written bySteerpike

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

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