Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged his successor Keir Starmer to offer a bolder set of policies to voters as the UK opposition party seeks to return to government after more than a decade out of power.
(Bloomberg) — Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged his successor Keir Starmer to offer a bolder set of policies to voters as the UK opposition party seeks to return to government after more than a decade out of power.
“Labour is too timid,” Corbyn, who was ejected in 2020 from the parliamentary Labour Party by Starmer, said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio. “Labour has to offer, I believe, a much more radical economic alternative which does start to address these massive levels of inequality in Britain which have gotten worse particularly since Covid.”
Corbyn said Starmer would “probably” win the next general election, which is due by January 2025 at the latest. But that win would be “on the basis of the unpopularity of the Conservative government” rather than Labour’s own policies, he said. He called for Labour to pledge public ownership of utilities such as water, and offer a taxation policy that redistributes more wealth to the poor from the rich.
Corbyn’s remarks are unlikely to hold much sway over Starmer as he seeks to steer Labour back into government. The opposition party is ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives by about 20 points in national polling, a lead Starmer has built in part on distancing himself from his veteran left-wing predecessor.
Moreover, Corbyn’s proposed policies were all included in the party’s manifesto for the 2019 general election, when he led Labour to its worst defeat since 1935, suggesting they had little credibility with the wider British electorate. Starmer instead has sought to guide the party to the center ground that former Prime Minister Tony Blair staked out to lead Labour to victory in three successive general elections, including a commitment to sound management of the nation’s finances.
He expelled Corbyn from the Parliamentary Labour Party in late 2020 after the former leader refused to to accept in full the findings of an independent probe into antisemitism in the opposition during his time in charge. Starmer has also led efforts to plug center-left candidates for key target seats ahead of the general election.
Asked by Bloomberg, Corbyn didn’t rule out running as an independent candidate in his constituency of Islington North — which he’s held for 40 years. He said there was still “time” for Starmer “to change his mind.” He also said he wouldn’t bid for mayor of London “at the moment.”
–With assistance from Yuan Potts and Stephen Carroll.
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