Starmer says he can’t see how Corbyn can be Labour candidate at next election
In his Today interview Keir Starmer also appeared to rule out Jeremy Corbyn standing as a candidate at the next election. Asked if Corbyn would be Labour’s candidate in Islington North at the next election, Starmer replied:
I don’t see the circumstances in which that can happen. Obviously, we’ve not got to the selection of that particular constituency yet, but I don’t see the circumstances in which Jeremy Corbyn will stand as a Labour candidate.
Corbyn is still a Labour party member, but he lost the whip more than two years ago after he delivered a response to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission [EHRC] report about antisemitism in the Labour party under his leadership which was deemed to play down the seriousness of the problem.
At the time Starmer said that, to have the whip restored (which has to happen for him to be eligible to stand as a candidate for the party), Corbyn would have to apologise. But that has not happened, the standoff has not been resolved, and Starmer’s latest comment (which echoes what his aides have been saying in private) is probably the explicit public confirmation from him yet about Corbyn not being able to return to the party.
Keir Starmer says he does not think rejoining single market would boost economic growth ‘at this stage’
Good morning. Keir Starmer has been doing interviews this morning ahead of the publication of the report from the party’s Commission on the UK’s Future, chaired by Gordon Brown. Most of the reporting in advance has focused on a recommendation in the report that the House of Lords should be abolished, partly because on Saturday the Times ran a story claiming “proposals to abolish the House of Lords are set to be watered down after an eleventh-hour row between Gordon Brown and Sir Keir Starmer’s advisers”. The paper claimed that Brown wanted a firm commitment from Starmer to abolish the Lords, while Starmer’s team just wanted to commit to consulting on reform. That is why when Starmer was on the Today programme a few minutes ago, the first question was about whether Starmer wanted to abolish the Lords.
Starmer said he did – but he said that when that would happen would be a matter for consultation.
But Starmer also stressed that the recomendations in the report go far beyond what should happen to the upper chamber. That was obvious in the overnight briefing released by the party ahead of the report which did not even mention the Lords, and instead stressed the party’s commitment to decentralisation, and the devolution of power to local government.
We’ll come back to those shortly, because in his Today interview Starmer was also asked about Brexit. He has repeatedly said that a Labour government would not take the UK back into the single market, but he put a particularly provocative spin on this when responding to a question from Mishal Husain, who asked if membership of the single market would boost economic growth. Starmer replied:
No, at this stage, I don’t think it would. And there’s no case for going back to the EU, or going back into the single market.
I do think there’s a case for a better Brexit. I do think there’s a very strong case for making Brexit work.
When Husain pressed him again on this, pointing out that economists say trade has suffered because the UK has been out of the single market, Starmer replied:
I think trade has gone down because the deal that we’ve got is not a very good deal. I think we can move from getting Brexit done, which is all that we’ve managed at the moment, to making Brexit work and I do think there’s a better deal.
But do I think … that going back into years of wrangling, years of uncertainty, is going to help the economy? No, I don’t.
I spent many, many years post-2016 talking to businesses who said to me, over and over again, the thing that’s hardest for us is all the uncertainty. And that for many years held us back.
I will post more from the interview shortly.
Here is the agenda for the day.
10am: Keir Starmer holds a press conference with Gordon Brown to launch the report from the Commission on the UK’s Future, which Brown chaired.
11.30pm: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.
3.30pm: Starmer and Brown hold a second launch of the commission’s report in Edinburgh.
After 3.30pm: MPs resume their debate on the online safety bill. The bill has been paused for months because first Liz Truss’s government, and then Rishi Sunak’s, were considering changes to it. Those changes were announced last week.
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