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Starmer set to run Blair tribute act

Labour leader slammed as he veers further right

LABOUR leader Keir Starmer was slammed today for shifting his party’s position closer to that of Tony Blair than Jeremy Corbyn.

As the Labour conference closed today, Mr Starmer said his party was now offering “centre ground, common sense politics.”

He told LBC Radio: “This is a confident Labour Party that’s done a lot of hard work in the last two years to change our party, remake our party and people are now looking to the Labour Party for the answers to the very difficult questions that are out there.

“So this is a Labour Party that can confidently look the electorate in the eye and the electorate are looking back at the Labour Party.

“The government we’ve got has made an absolute mess of the economy and here you’ve got a Labour Party calmly, carefully and with confidence, setting out alternative plans for our economy and for our public services.”

Asked on Times Radio if he was comfortable saying Labour was closer to the party of Sir Tony than it was to Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir said: “I certainly hope so, because Tony Blair won three elections and I want us to win the next election.”

Mr Corbyn, who still has not had the Labour whip restored despite remaining a party member, saw the ground that needed to be occupied in a different way.

Ahead of a huge Enough is Enough rally in Tottenham last night, Mr Corbyn told the Star: “The ground we need to be on is the same ground as people struggling to make ends meet.

“We also need to be on the same ground as workers on picket lines fighting for better pay and conditions.”

Labour MP Diane Abbott told the Star “we should be going forward not looking back.”

Mr Starmer went on to tell Times Radio: “We are firmly on the centre ground, common sense politics, practical answers to the challenges the country faces.”

Communist Party general secretary Rob Griffiths was also scathing about the prospect of a return to a Blair era.

Mr Griffiths said: “Back to more privatisation, no repeal of the anti-union laws, wars for US imperialism and broken promises on rail renationalisation is not a winning battle-cry.”

“The Blair-Brown governments ended with massive bank bailouts, five million lost Labour votes and 12 years of even more right-wing government.”

After Sir Keir claimed the centre ground during his keynote speech to the conference on Tuesday, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “As Nye Bevan said as far back as 1953: ‘We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down.’"

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, who was suspended from party membership last week despite recently being elected to Labour’s National Executive Committee, complained that broadcasters were giving the Labour leader an easy ride.

She added they had consistently failed to question Sir Keir over a series of Al Jazeera programmes that reveal allegations of disturbing levels of racism and abuse within the Labour Party.

Writing to the BBC, she said: “I’m shocked that you failed to question Keir Starmer on the Today programme.

“The three episodes broadcast over the past six days demonstrate serious racist and factional abuses carried out at the highest level in Starmer's party.”

The Labour Party have so far declined to formally respond to the issues raised within the Al Jazeera programmes. 

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