Jeremy Corbyn has now weighed in on the debate about Labour leadership contender Keir Starmer‘s donors. The outgoing leader has said the bookies’ favourite to replace him should publish exactly where his campaign money has come from.
Starmer’s donors: Corbyn weighs in
On Friday 28 February, the Islington Gazette published some snippets of an interview with Corbyn. Journalist Lucas Cumiskey had spoken at length with the outgoing Labour leader. The Gazette will publish the full interview next week. But it’s some comments about Starmer which currently stand out.
Yes. I think there always has to be openness in all respects, and when you receive financial support for a political campaign it’s very important to know where it comes from, all of it should be published. I published everything in my leadership campaigns. The number of high-level, big ticket donors we had was very small…
While Corbyn’s comments may not come as a surprise, they add to the pressure on Starmer over his transparency.
Show us the money
As PoliticsHome reported, Unite the Union boss Len McCluskey weighed in on the debate too. He called on both Starmer and fellow leadership contender Lisa Nandy to publish their donors. McCluskey said:
I appeal to the other candidates, follow Rebecca [Long-Bailey]’s lead – publish your donor lists too. It cannot be that we can find out more easily about the millionaires and billionaires happy to open their wallets for Boris Johnson and his Tory party at the black tie ball but we are in the dark about who is funding two possible Labour leader candidates.
Starmer’s other problems
As The Canary‘s Peadar O’Cearnaigh wrote, many people think Labour’s loss at the 2019 election was partly due to its Brexit position:
The general election in 2019 was billed as a “Brexit election”. And Starmer was one of the architects of Labour’s position. This proved unpopular with much of the British electorate. Yet according to a recent poll, Starmer has kept his popularity with Labour Remainers.
People also have concerns about Starmer’s involvement in the undercover policing – “spycops” – scandal. But so far, none of this is reflected in the polls. As the Guardian reported, YouGov and Sky News polled both Labour Party and trade union members, and registered supporters. They found that 53% backed Starmer, with Long Bailey second at 31%, and Nandy on 16%.
So as things stand, it seems Starmer is the frontrunner. But anything is still possible.
A Corbyn return?
Meanwhile, speaking of anything being possible, Corbyn also discussed with Cumiskey whether he’d take a job in the new leader’s shadow cabinet. He said:
I think foreign policy actually because I have spent my life on human rights justice and environmental justice issues. But that’s not up to me, that’s up to the next leader.
As The Canary‘s Ed Sykes previously wrote, Corbyn has repeatedly spoken out about:
- The brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
- UK ally Saudi Arabia‘s campaign of destruction in Yemen.
- NATO member Turkey‘s deteriorating democracy, and its crimes against the Kurdish people.
- The devastating effects of the arms trade, and the continuing danger which nuclear weapons pose to humanity.
- The Indian occupation of Kashmir.
But a shadow foreign secretary role for Corbyn may only be possible under Long-Bailey’s leadership. So if you think he’d be ideal for the role, and you take issue with Starmer, you know who to vote for.
- Read Cumiskey’s full Islington Gazette article here.
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