Labour civil war erupts: McCluskey blasts Starmer for Thatcher praise - 'Has he forgot who he's supposed to be representing?'


Keir Starmer's latest comments have caused outrage among the party Left

Keith Bays

By Keith Bays

Published: 04/12/2023

- 11:01

Updated: 04/12/2023

- 20:30

Sir Keir said Margaret Thatcher had affected 'meaningful change'

The Labour Party is today having to deal with an escalation in an already bitter civil war, that threatens to derail Keir Starmer’s lead in the polls.

Starmer attempted to woo Conservative voters by saying Margaret Thatcher had affected ‘meaningful change’ in Britain whilst praising her further for ‘setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism’.

The remarks from Starmer have angered the former General Secretary of Unite the Union, Len McCluskey.

He told GB News: “Starmer should tell that to the millions of ordinary people whose lives she made miserable and the communities she destroyed.

WATCH: Keir Starmer exclusive chat with GB News at COP 28

McCluskey added: “Has he forgot who he is supposed to be representing.”

The comments will come as a blow to the Labour party leader, as he attempts to unite a divided party ahead of next year’s general election.

Responding to McCluskey’s criticism of Sir Keir, former Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said: “Keir Starmer is showing the leadership and determination Labour need to win, critics like this need to get real.

“Or do we want another 13 years of this miserable Tory shower?”

Another figure from the Blair and Brown era former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Shaun Woodward said: “More than anything this demonstrates the kind of Prime Minister Keir would make.

Woodward added: “He is perfectly able to see good things, to recognise the achievements and the role of previous change makers, even when in those very considerable political opponents.

“If we want a Prime Minister who will demonstrably put country before party, there could be no clearer expression of intent.”

Len McCluskey

McCluskey has hit out at Starmer


Meanwhile Starmer’s decision to lavish praise on this Conservative Icon, has had those who have worked closely with Thatcher questioning his motives.

Director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, Nile Gardiner said: "Lady Thatcher would never have trusted Keir Starmer. She would have viewed him as a chameleon-like political opportunist who says all things to all voters.

“She would have warned the British people against putting the Left back in power.”

Gardiner added: “This is simply a cynical ploy to appeal to Conservative voters, which will very likely fail. It will though have the effect of furthering the civil war in the Labour Party between the Left and the far Left."

Others acknowledged that Starmer may be right to praise Thatcher for her achievements in office, but they were also quick to point out that Starmer was not the leader that Thatcher was.

Thatcher’s former Director of Policy at Number 10, Conservative MP, Sir John Redwood said: “Sir keir is right. Margaret did unleash an enterprise and ownership revolution, cutting tax rates and boosting growth.

“Sir Keir is no Margaret Thatcher, always favouring the bondage of entrepreneurship with more regulations and taxes.”

In response, Paymaster General, Jonathan Ashworth said: “The simple truth is the Conservative Party have abandoned and betrayed the trust of people who voted for them.

“This Tory government has increased taxes 25 times, lost control of our borders, failed to grow the economy and aren't giving the country the strong leadership, it needs.”

It remains to be seen if Starmer’s strategy to woo disaffected Tory voters will pay off come next year’s election.

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