Keir Starmer given brutal assessment by John McDonnell
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At a turbulent time for the Conservatives, the prospects for Labour to win the next general election would be expected to be on the rise. However, comments made by party members suggest there is little faith, internally, for Sir Keir to make it to No10.
One shadow cabinet minister told the Times: “Is he exciting? No, of course not – that isn’t why we ended up with him.
“But there is a big difference between not being Mr Razzmatazz and boring everyone to death.”
“To loads of my constituents, he just doesn’t exist in their minds at all.”
A second Labour minister said: “Keir only does politics in the most basic, primary colours.
“It’s been two years.
“Our party conference in September is his last chance to show what he really stands for.”
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A third added: “There’s no energy or direction from his team.
“We don’t need a full manifesto but we do need a big vision, clear priorities and a bold offer.
“What are they waiting for?”
Their remarks came as the Labour leader found himself embroiled in an inquiry that he justified as “administrative errors” understood to relate to football tickets and book payments received and declared late.
He is being investigated by Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, under two sections of the MPs’ rules of conduct on registering interests.
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Opened last Wednesday, the investigation was triggered by official records showing Sir Keir has enjoyed nearly £7,000 worth of tickets to football matches in the past year and failed to tell the authorities about some of his gifts and earnings within 28 days.
Under parliamentary rules on employment and earnings, MPs must register payments of more than £100 which they receive for work outside the Commons.
For gifts and hospitality, they must register benefits worth more than £300, or multiple benefits from the same source if they exceed that value in a calendar year.
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The register of interests for the Labour leader includes two copyright payments for books written before his election to parliament as well as an £18,450 advance from publisher HarperCollins for a book he is writing.
A spokesperson for Sir Keir said: “Keir Starmer takes his declaration responsibilities very seriously and has already apologised for the fact that administrative errors in his office have led to a small number of late declarations.
“The Standards Commissioner has asked for more information which we are happy to provide.”
During a visit to Wakefield, the West Yorkshire seat his party is hoping to gain in a by-election on June 23, Sir Keir said that the allegations were not a surprise.
Asked if he was sure he had done nothing wrong, he said: “Absolutely confident, there’s no problem here.”
Sir Keir is separately awaiting a decision from Durham Police on whether he may have breached Covid lockdown rules by allegedly drinking a beer with colleagues during a campaign visit to the North East last year.
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