'Sir Keir – the Leader who is constantly changing his mind – cannot be trusted with the nuclear button' - Gerald Howarth

Keir Starmer

"The nation must vote Conservative to save us from this potentially dangerous scenario," says Sir Gerald Howarth

PA
Sir Gerald Howarth

By Sir Gerald Howarth


Published: 16/06/2024

- 05:00

"Starmer's capacity to change his mind is infinite," says Sir Gerald Howarth, former Conservative MP for Aldershot

Recent election campaigns have been short, 3 week events; this one is a full six weeks with 4 weeks still to go.

The merit of that decision is that it has given the Conservatives and commentators the chance to subject Sir Keir Starmer and his acolytes to the scrutiny to which they need to be subjected.


The Labour leader has spent the past 4 years assiduously making as few policy commitments as possible, desperate to protect his party’s large lead in the polls and hoping to coast to victory on the back of soothing platitudes.

He knows that in the wings stand the hard Left who yearn for a return to the Corbyn agenda and who he dare not offend. Such commitments as he did make in advance of the calling of the election were limited to the politics-of-envy vindictive attack on independent schools which will hit the aspirational classes, not the rich, and a complete ban on hunting.

So, what can we make of Sir Keir 2 weeks into the campaign? We can be sure that his ‘Change’ mantra will be honoured; his capacity to change his mind is infinite.

The man who enthusiastically endorsed the Corbyn’s 2019 manifesto (which included a second Brexit referendum and the wholesale nationalisation of key industries, described by the BBC’s Simon Jack as ‘the biggest ownership takeover by the state since the nationalisations that occurred after the outbreak of World War Two’) tells us he has now changed his mind.

During the Covid pandemic he constantly changed his mind on what the response should be. Much more recently, he shared the Government’s view on the case for a ‘pause’, not a ‘ceasefire’ in the Israel / Hamas conflict but then, following pressure from the Left and Muslim members of his party, he called for an immediate ceasefire. Then there was the Diane Abbott case. Sir Keir was clearly reluctant that she should stand again, but then changed his mind.

As Katy Balls wrote in The Spectator, he has been forced into taking a position he didn’t want to as a result of pressure from the left of the party, notably from his Deputy, Angela Rayner, someone who seems unable to decide where she lived.

This record of inconsistency and bending to pressure from the Left must surely lead the undecided to ask themselves: ‘Can we trust Labour’s assurances on no tax increases, tackling immigration and retention of our nuclear deterrent?’, to mention just three policy areas. This last point is the most serious.

As we mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a brutal war is being waged by Russia in Ukraine with Russia’s President threatening the UK with a nuclear response if we ramp up our involvement.

Sir Keir’s Deputy Leader, his Shadow Foreign Secretary, David Lammy, and his Shadow International Development Secretary, Lisa Nandy, all voted against the upgrade of our deterrent two years after Putin’s annexation of Crimea.

Apparently, they have changed their minds, but we cannot risk entrusting the nuclear button to people whose record is so dangerous and whose leader is so weak he could not make up his mind about whether one of his MPs should be allowed to stand for Parliament again.

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Those disenchanted by the Conservatives’ recent performance and tempted to vote for Reform need to recognise that their vote is very unlikely to return a Reform MP but will certainly help ensure the keys to Britain’s nuclear deterrent is handed to those whose commitment to that deterrent is uncertain.

If they feel that, despite all his U-turns, Sir Keir’s change is irreversible, then consider this: the hard Left have already caused him to change course.

Imagine how quickly they would emerge from the shadows after a Labour victory, demanding their Corbynista agenda be adopted.I suspect that if Labour were to win, the weak Sir Keir would be swept aside within a year and replaced by a deeply unattractive regime.

‘Time for a change’ – a change to what? The nation must vote Conservative to save us from this potentially dangerous scenario.

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