Keir Starmer finally tells us who will be helped and who will be squeezed by tax cuts - analysis by Christopher Hope

Keir Starmer and Christopher Hope

Keir Starmer finally tells us who will be helped and who will be squeezed by tax cuts - analysis by Christopher Hope

GB News
Christopher Hope

By Christopher Hope

Published: 21/06/2024

- 22:07

Christopher Hope sat down with Sir Keir earlier today

It is as much about what Sir Keir Starmer did not say which was what was interesting from his interview tonight with GB News.

The Labour leader - who the polls expect to be Prime Minister in two weeks' time - refused to budge any further than his pledge not to raise National Insurance, income tax or VAT.

Interestingly he offered a new definition of the "working people" who he wants to help if he gets the keys to Downing Street.

These were people who had more (but not much more) than a few thousand pounds in savings, and found themselves without "the wherewithal to write a big cheque when they get into trouble financially".

\u200bChristopher Hope sat down with Keir Starmer over a pint

Christopher Hope sat down with Keir Starmer over a pint

GB News

He also dropped a big hint that he would not increase fuel duty if he wins power, pointing out that Labour has supported Tory decisions to freeze the levy. Again, more help for these "working people".

Starmer was less forthcoming about his plans for the better off amid reports of plans for wealth taxes.

He was silent on other tax increases such as new council tax bands to force those in bigger homes to pay more to town halls.

I was struck by his refusal four times to say that he would pay for his children to be treated privately if they were ill because of his commitment to the NHS and his desire not to be seen queue jumping.

Sir Keir Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer

GB News

He said he would not force his Cabinet to follow suit if he wins the election, and implausibly said that his stance was "not ideological". It certainly sounded like it was.

Starmer refused to get into a bidding war with Nigel Farage over who was the most patriotic, but did say he was "truly patriotic". He said he was "very proud of our country" and of the union flag.

Yet this pledge came after defending his predecessor as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who questioned whether Russia was behind the Salisbury poisonings, as well as not saying he would use nuclear weapons to defend the UK. It surely is impossible to ride both horses.

Starmer was equivocal on what he was going to do about the tens of thousands of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats. His manifesto commits his party to stopping the chaos, rather than - as the Tories say - stopping the boats.

I asked him to bet me a pint of beer that he would cut new arrivals from France in the first year of a Starmer premiership. He did not take my bet.

There was so much here which Starmer refused to talk about, because he doesn't really have to. The Tories have failed to land a blow on him in the first four weeks of the election campaign, meaning there is little pressure on Labour to say any more.

Starmer is apparently cantering his way to No10, while the Conservatives look on, aghast that voters appear to have turned their backs on them.

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