Keir Starmer is ‘like Gareth Southgate’ says Margaret Beckett
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Dame Margaret Beckett prompted ridicule live on-air after she suggested that voters across the country “know very clearly” what Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer stands for. The remark sparked mockery from BBC panellists, including political editor of gal-dam magazine Moya Lothian-Mclean and The Sun’s political editor Harry Cole. Last week, Labour MP Kim Leadbeater prevented a humiliating upset by securing a narrow victory for the party in the Batley and Spen by-election.
The panel discussed whether the by-election victory, which was won by just 323 votes, represented a turning point for Sir Keir’s leadership, despite plunging poll ratings.
Ms Lothian-Mclean clashed with Dame Margaret Beckett over the Labour leader, while the latter branded Ms Lothian-Mclean’s opinions as “fantasy politics”.
This prompted Ms Lothian-Mclean to hit back: “The fantasy politics you are talking about is the world that you exist in clearly.
“Because on the ground for Keir Starmer, these issues are coming up again and again and again.”
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She continued: “There was a poll out recently by Johnson & Johnson that looked at the Red Wall voters.
“The number one reason these Red Wall voters said they were moving away from the party – long after the former leader had left – was Keir Starmer.
“So I think maybe you should get back into the real world.
“You haven’t refuted any of these criticisms. What does Keir Starmer stand for?”
Dame Beckett responded: “We know very clearly what Keir Starmer stands for.”
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While this remark prompted laughter from the panellists, Dame Beckett continued: “One of the things that I think would summarise it best is a phrase that I’ve heard him use more than once.
“Which is he wants to make this the best country to grow up in and the best country to grow old in and he’s talked about and about problems in education.
“But because of the pandemic, it hasn’t cut through.”
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She went on to compare Sir Keir to England football manager Gareth Southgate, prompting further mockery from panellists.
Harry Cole said Sir Keir was more like “Ed Milliband with a law degree”.
He suggested that Labour was verging on civil war, with party factions “bickering amongst themselves”.
Following the by-election, Sir Keir proclaimed that Labour “is coming home”.
Prior to the victory, Sir Keir’s leadership was under threat, with speculation of an imminent leadership contest.
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