Labour briefing the Sun drags Keir Starmer’s week to a new low

Keir Starmer with the Sun logo
Steve Topple

Just when you think Keir Starmer’s Labour couldn’t sink any lower – it does. Because aside from the party actively shutting down its left wing, now it’s also anonymously briefing the Sun. Tony Blair: can you hold Starmer’s pint, please?

Everybody out

It’s been quite a week in the Labour Party. On Monday 23 November, left-wing members of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) did a digital walk-out during a meeting. This was over several things. Firstly, they were protesting Starmer not giving former leader Jeremy Corbyn the whip back. But the members were also unhappy about Margaret Beckett becoming NEC chair. They claimed Beckett’s appointment over the Fire Brigades Union’s (FBU’s) Ian Murray was essentially a stich up. The Guardian reported that the members, including former MP Laura Pidcock, said in a letter that:

the ‘longstanding protocol’ was for the vice-chair to be elected to the head of the body. ‘This is not protocol and is another example of the leader promoting factional division within Labour,’…

‘The leader’s decision to again promote factionalism comes at a time when the historic relationship with trade unions is under tremendous strain’ the letter said.

Also on 23 November, a row kicked off between the party and its Young Labour group.

Young Labour versus archaic Labour?

Young Labour passed a vote to release a statement in support of Corbyn. This also meant Young Labour opposed Starmer’s refusal to give him the whip back. But the Labour Party machinery was not happy about this. Little did it know that Young Labour chair Jess Barnard would go public about it. She tweeted that “Labour’s head office” had emailed her:

ordering me to remove this statement ‘immediately’ and alleging that Young Labour had ‘misused’ Labour ‘branding’ to provide ‘commentary on factional disputes’.

Barnard didn’t mess about. She said that overall:

The actions we have seen in recent weeks undermine members’ democratic rights and free expression, and are a threat to the fabric of our party.

Ouch. Not that the Labour Party seemed to care. Because the chaos continued on Tuesday.

Shutting down a local party

As SKWAWKBOX reported, the Labour machinery has effectively shut-down a local constituency party. It noted that:

the Labour party has suspended first the elected chair and one co-secretary of Bristol West constituency party (CLP) for allowing a motion in support of Jeremy Corbyn to be voted on (and passed decisively by members) – and then the other co-secretary for unspecified ‘suspicion of breaking the rules‘.

All this was done in the run-up to the CLP’s annual general meeting (AGM), at which members would elect the officers to represent them for the next year – against a backdrop of the MP’s office abusing member data to whip support for a right-wing set of candidates.

And now, in yet another insult to the members and their democracy, Labour’s south-west regional office has cancelled the AGM altogether – on the grounds that there is nobody left to run it.

SKWAWKBOX called the actions “Stalinist”. And if all that wasn’t enough, on Wednesday 25 November, it reported that Labour had also suspended the chair of the Bristol North West CLP.

But Starmer then decide to take it up a notch.

The last straw?

As I tweeted:

Yes, that’s right. The Sun reported (please don’t click the link) that “Sir” Starmer:

will order Labour MPs to back a Brexit deal to try to win back the North, his allies claim.

Shadow Cabinet sources say the party will support ‘almost any trade deal’ that PM Boris Johnson forges with Brussels.

They hope that doing so will ‘put the issue to bed for good’ and win back the trust of ‘Red Wall’ voters lost to the Tories in last year’s election.

Talk about morally bankrupt.

‘Humiliating, horrifying and disappointing’

Firstly, Starmer seems happy to have members of his team briefing the most toxic tabloid in the UK. But he’s also just shown that clearly his view on Brexit will change like the British weather. Because it was, of course, him and others, that forced Corbyn and Labour into its disastrous public vote Brexit stance during the 2019 general election. It also shows utter contempt for Sun readers and Red Wall voters. Because Starmer is assuming they won’t spot his flip-flopping.

As Rachael Swindon tweeted:

Your guess is as good as mine, Rach. But it couldn’t surely get any worse. Could it…?

Featured image via ITV News – YouTube and Wikimedia 

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  • Show Comments
    1. This was, allegedly, settled when the right wing left to form the SDP back in the 80s. The Labour Party was to go back to what it was, a party representing the working class of this country. Since then there has been a battle for the name of the party between proper Labour and the soft left of Tories who are called New Labour.

      They know (New Labour) that the working class have no other party to vote for and will vote for them even when they move so far to the right as you couldn’t get a fag paper between them and the Tories. However, this strategy has already failed in Scotland and Labour has now been relegated to ‘bit player’ The recent losses in the north of England are directly the result of Keir Starmer’s intervention to overturn the Brexit vote and this was intolerable to even the most dyed in the wool Labour voters in northern England. Starmer is banking on voters’ legendary short memories for a win in 2024. If he does win it will be by a snout and we will have a weak Labour government (in name only)

      To address this they need to go back to the membership and instead of focus-group politics they need to get out and convince people they are right, look how grass roots politics worked for the SNP! They came from a minor party to the dominant force within little more than a decade..

    2. Interesting comments in the Guardian today stating statistics about voting patterns in the ‘red wall’ 2019.
      Seems to show that Tory gains were more from Labour voters staying at home rather than a large scale switching to the Conservatives.
      So if true, trying to ‘win back’ voters with dodgy policies is pointless, Labour just need to get their own vote out.

    3. Before Keir was even Labour leader he was meeting up with Margaret Hodge/Board of Depuites – he planned to ‘scorch the earth with Corbyn allies’. Supports Zionism without qualification. I think that’s more the Israeli Government, rather than all zionists.
      He also agreed to only recognise Jews who the Board of Deputies decides are legitimate. Not to engage with other Jews. Pro-Palestine/anti-israeli govt Jews are incorrectly labeled antisemitic too. As is anyone else criticising Israeli govt.
      Hodge has a checkered history. For ignoring social workers reporting child sexual abuse of 100s of children, then calling a survivor deranged, blamed her staff. Blair kept her as Minister for Children!
      Keir was funded by investment bankers, big business (£100k+ I believe from 3) and £50k from Israel Lobby.
      Hatchet job against JC both elections. Hodge clogged up disputes with over 100 allegations.
      Have proof of this in case someone thinks I’m making it up! Or being anti-semitic.
      Personally I think JC has been undermined/targetted to lose GE19, big business/ Israel Govt didn’t want him. I’m wondering how long Keir has been biding his time.

    4. With all these machinations going on in Labour and the lack of integrity by many, incl past and present leadership, it is why we need a PR form of voting to give us all more CHOICE on the kind of priorities and morality of political party’s we would prefer! The whole system of democracy in the UK speaks of hypocrisy so how can we criticise others when we are morally corrupt in our affairs??? We need to move into the 21st century and stop propping up privilege and corrupt power! We need CHOICE not the same old, same old.

    5. Liverpool taught us how to treat the Sun 30 odd years ago, you dont touch them with a barge pole
      Temporary Embarrassment promised not to go there, that’s Cheap and Nasty Tories for you, will say anything to get elected

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