Jeremy Corbyn says Sir Keir Starmer rewriting history over 2019 election

Jeremy Corbyn has accused Sir Keir Starmer of “rewriting history” after the Labour leader said he did not think his party would win the 2019 general election.

In an interview with Beth Rigby on Sky on Wednesday, Sir Keir was questioned over his support for his predecessor in 2019 and his subsequent attempts to distance the party from Mr Corbyn.

Sir Keir said he was “certain” Labour would lose the election but made “no apology” for backing Mr Corbyn at the time.

It comes after Sir Keir said the Conservatives have built a “Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto” that will “load everything into the wheelbarrow” without explaining how to pay for it.

Speaking to the PA news agency on Thursday, Mr Corbyn accused Sir Keir of “double standards”.

Jeremy Corbyn visit to Chingford and Woodford Green
Then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with Labour Party parliamentary candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green Faiza Shaheen (Gareth Fuller/PA)

He said: “Well, he never said that to me, at any time. And so I just think rewriting history is no help.”

He added: “It shows double standards, shall we say, that he now says he always thought that, but he never said it at the time, or anything about it.

“He was part of the campaign. He and I spoke together at events and I find it actually quite sad.

“Get over it and get on with it. He was in the shadow cabinet, he was at the Clause 5 meeting. Both those meetings unanimously agreed the 2019 manifesto, and he was there.”

At the interview with Sky on Wednesday, Sir Keir said: “I was certain that we would lose the 2019 election.”

He added: “I did campaign for Labour, of course I did, I will openly say I campaigned for Labour, I wanted good colleagues to be returned into the Labour Party.”

Mr Corbyn said his message to the Labour leader was to “own” his involvement with the 2019 campaign.

He said: “I’m sorry that he’s changing his memory on this. I was there alongside him in 2019. We did campaign together. He was at events with me. Own it.”

Mr Corbyn said that from his own memory, in 2019 Sir Keir “did not generally engage in wider policy.”

“His conversations with me, in the shadow cabinet, were usually about the arcane details of the withdrawal bill.

“He did not generally engage in wider policy, but never dissented either.”

Mr Corbyn also reflected that in 2020, Sir Keir “complimented him” and called him a “good friend”.

Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn (Gareth Fuller/PA)

He said: “He actually complimented me on turning politics and the Labour Party away from austerity onto progressive economics, announced that he was a good friend of mine and he then stood for election on 10 points, all of which were drawn from the manifesto. It’s rather strange.”

Mr Corbyn said that the last time he spoke to Sir Keir was “about four years ago” before adding: “He doesn’t speak to me at all, which I find odd.”

The former leader of the Labour Party also said that he would “absolutely” encourage Diane Abbott’s constituents to vote for her, following uncertainty over whether she could stand for Labour.

“I was on the phone last week congratulating her.

“She’s my parliamentary neighbour.

“I’ve got her on one side and Keir Starmer on the other.”

He also said he was “proud” to campaign alongside Faiza Shaheen, the former Labour Party candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green, who was dropped by the party over her use of social media.

His message to Ms Shaheen was: “You’ve done fantastic work on economics, fantastic work on how we can bring about greater justice and equality within our societies and you’re a fantastic campaigner in Chingford.

“I was proud to campaign alongside you, and I wish you well.”