Keir Starmer ‘seriously considering’ Labour leadership bid as he sets out vision for party's future
Keir Starmer has said he is “seriously considering” putting himself forward to be Labour leader after Jeremy Corbyn confirmed he will quit in March.
The shadow Brexit secretary said last week’s general election defeat has not dented the need for “a bold and radical Labour government” as he all-but confirmed that he will run to be the party's next leader.
In an interview with The Guardian setting out his pitch, Starmer called on the party not to “oversteer” by lurching to the right after its worst election result since 1935.
And he insisted Labour must be a “a broad church” which has room for both Momentum and “people who might self-identity as Blairites”.
Taking aim at Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, he said: "We didn’t deal with anti-Semitism and that became a question of values and a question of competence.
“Instead of being seen as a moral issue, where you were judging what people had said, the question became ‘What side are you on?’, it got tangled up.
“Frankly there’s been too much factionalism.”
He added: “I don’t think anybody would call me a Corbynista, but I’m a socialist.”
His comments came after Jeremy Corbyn was heavily criticised by his remaining MPs at an angry meeting of the parliamentary Labour party on Tuesday night, where he was told “the biggest drag on the support at this election was him and his leadership”.
Starmer said: “There’s no hiding from it. It is a devastating result, but it’s important not to oversteer.
“The case for a bold and radical Labour government is as strong now as it was last Thursday.
“We need to anchor ourselves in that.”
The former director of public prosecutions, who first became an MP in 2015, added: “I want trust to be restored in the Labour Party as a progressive force for good: and that means we have to win.
“But there’s no victory without values.”
The current leadership favourite is Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, with Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry expected to throw their hats into the ring in the coming days.
Holyrood’s sister website PoliticsHome also understands that Ian Murray, the only remaining Scottish Labour MP, is also considering a run at the top job.
Starmer said it was “undeniably true” he could be running for Labour leader at a time when many believe the role should be filled by a woman.
“And there will be very good women candidates in this race, we know that,” he added.
“If I am in this race, it will be because of the ideas I want to put forward, and my determination that the Labour party can be a force for good and can bring about radical change.
“To get from where we are to where we need to be in four and a half years is a mountain to climb.
“This is not going to be done by one person alone, it is a team effort.”