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Sir Keir Starmer has come under fire from the left-wing of Labour as factions begin to clash over his political strategies. In a BBC Newsnight investigation, former and current Labour officials discussed the legacy of Jeremy Corbyn and the future Sir Keir may bring. Ardent supporters of the former leader dubbed Sir Keir’s distancing of himself from the Corbyn era as a “betrayal”.
MP Ian Lavery told Newsnight: “Keir’s campaign to become leader of the Labour Party was pretty good.
“The fact that he put a wonderful video together saying how left-wing he actually was.
“The fact that he had represented the miners was great as well.
“Anybody who didn’t know who Keir Starmer was would think that we’ve got somebody here who’s probably as left-wing and more devoted to socialism than what Jeremy Corbyn was.”
He added: “But, of course, that was never the case. It’s a bit of a betrayal.”
When Sir Keir secured his victory in April 2020, nearly all of the major Corbynites were removed from the shadow cabinet.
This included then Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.
Carolyn Harris, another Labour MP and parliamentary private secretary to Mr Starmer, defended the brutal move.
She told Newsnight: “I don’t think you can put people in a shadow cabinet based on their politics.
“You have to put them there based on ability and that’s what Keir has done.”
BBC interviewer Lewis Goodall pressed Ms Harris on whether that implied at all the Corbynites in the Shadow Cabinet didn’t have “ability”.
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She told him: “I wasn’t making those decisions.
“But there’s nobody in the shadow cabinet now who I wouldn’t have wanted to see in there.”
Len McCluskey, the General Secretary of Unite the Union, had an important warning for the party: “The left has to regroup but the left is still very very vibrant and will play a key role.
“That’s why I’ve said to Keir that his argument about wanting a united party is right.
“But he shouldn’t forget his left-wing. I’m going to be his friendly conscience along the way.”
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