Keir Starmer has revealed that he has broken the “never kissed a Tory” mantra favoured by some of his colleagues.
The Labour leader said he was not “tribal” and had some “very good friends” on the other side of the political divide.
The slogan, which was first spotted at LGBTQ events around 2008, has been a matter of fierce debate — with some regarding it as a bit of fun and others as divisive.
This summer, shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell sparked controversy when she wore a t-shirt emblazoned with “never kissed a Tory” to a Pride event in Manchester.
— Lucy Powell MP (@LucyMPowell) August 27, 2022
A number of Tories criticised Powell, including Sara Britcliffe who accused the said her of “creating an us v them”.
Asked by Times Radio whether he was “tribal” and might wear a “never kissed a Tory” badge, Starmer replied wryly: “Well I’m afraid I’ve broken that rule.”
He continued: I’m not tribal — I think this actually comes from coming into politics later in life.
“Outside of politics, most of the time, most people at home or at work see a problem, get people around and try to fix it and bring people together, bridge people together and do it. That’s what I bring to politics. Therefore, I’ve worked across parties.
“I’m on very good terms with many, many Tory MPs. I’m not ashamed about it and I’ve got very good friends who are Tories and they’ve been very, very good friends of mine for a very, very long time and long may that last.”