‘Winning!’ Keir Starmer claims election success is more important than Labour Party unity

Laura Kuenssberg savages Keir Starmer on 'abandoning pledges'

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The Labour leader made the comment during an interview at the party’s annual conference in Brighton. When asked by the BBC’s Laura Kuennssberg whether winning an election or party unity was more important to his leadership, Sir Keir Starmer, 59, said: “Winning.

“Winning a general election.

“I didn’t come into politics to vote over and over again in Parliament and lose and then tweet about it.

“I came into politics to go into Government to change millions of lives for the better.”

The MP for Holborn & St Pancras became leader of the Labour Party in April 2020 when he succeeded Jeremy Corbyn.

The Labour leader has not however inspired the British Left to the same extent as Mr Corbyn.

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When pushed on why by Ms Kuenssberg, the ex-head of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Two years ago we were here in Brighton at Labour party conference and within a few short months we’d crashed to the worst general election results since 1935.

“I am not prepared to let that happen and if that means tough decisions to change our party, which is what I did on Sunday, I am going to take those tough decisions.”

While Corbyn promoted Starmer to his first frontbench jobs, as Shadow Minister for Immigration and then the Shadow Brexit Secretary, the Remain-voting MP has since infuriated his former leader’s loyal supporters by suspending the Islington North MP from the party.

During the conference, the party’s internal divisions rose to the fore after Starmer pushed through changes to electing future Labour leaders.

Following the changes, Andy McDonald resigned from the Shadow Cabinet and the Bakers’ Union, cutting ties with the Labour Party.

Ex-Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that his leader had “misunderstood” the nature of how a party wins an election.

McDonnell, who is a close ally to Corbyn on the left of the Labour Party, said: “You need unity to win, people don’t vote for divided parties.”

The MP for Hayes and Harlington added that he thought Starmer’s decision to push ahead with the controversial rule changes had come straight from the “Blairite playbook”.

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An opinion poll from YouGov conducted in the summer suggests Labour members are even divided as to whether the party should prioritise winning an election or their principles.

Just under half – 48 percent – said it was more important to be electable.

A slightly lower number – 44 percent – expressed a desire for Labour to stick to their principles.

But not everyone seems confident Starmer can unite Labour or return the party to power.

Ex-UKIP leader and LSE professor Alan Sked, 74, said: “Starmer says winning is more important than party unity.

“Don’t worry mate you are in no danger of achieving either.”

Starmer has so far failed to leave his electoral mark since being elected as Labour Party leader.

The party lost the once safe-seat of Hartlepool in a by-election, suffered net losses of 327 councillors and struggled to take advantage in the opinion polls.

In fact, the Tories have registered leads in 175 out of the last 177 opinion polls.

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