Lisa Nandy ‘not worried’ over claims about Keir Starmer’s ‘succession planning’

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Shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy has said she is “not worried” by claims that Sir Keir Starmer has “been talking … about succession planning”.

The Labour frontbencher described as “absolute nonsense” reports in the Sunday Times that the party leader has discussed the issue with certain members of the shadow cabinet.

Sir Keir and deputy leader Angela Rayner have returned questionnaires to police investigating whether they broke lockdown regulations. Both have said they will stand down if they are issued with fixed-penalty notices.

Ms Nandy told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It’s absolute nonsense. No, he hasn’t, and I’ve spoken to him twice in the last couple of days about how we persuade this Government to lift a finger to avert a crisis on the railways and about how we can (reverse) the huge cuts to local government funding.”

She added: “No, I’m not worried that he’s been talking to anybody about succession planning because I know that he’s been talking to all of us about how we rid this country of a Government that has held us back for the last 12 years and finally start to deliver for working people.

“That is the conversation that we’re having in the Labour Party at the moment, our eyes are not on the Labour Party.

“For too long we spent time debating the Labour Party; we care about the country, that’s what we’re in politics for and that’s what we’re discussing.”

The Labour MP for Wigan added: “We’re completely focused about what is happening in the country at the moment because we live in it… Every bit of our energy is going into, not just being an opposition to this appalling Government but to being a genuine alternative.”

Asked about claims over Sir Keir’s “boring” tag, Ms Nandy told BBC One’s Sunday Morning: “I don’t think it’s boring to want to abide by the rules that you set. To make the rules, break the rules, laugh about it and lie about it is what we’ve got at the moment.

“I would find it deeply exciting to have a Prime Minister who is prepared to act with honour and integrity and abide by the rules that he himself had made.”

Durham Constabulary are looking into whether the rules were violated after Sir Keir was caught on camera drinking a beer in an MP’s office after a day of campaigning for the local elections in Durham in April 2021.

At the time of the gathering, non-essential retail and outdoor venues including pub gardens were open, but social distancing rules, which included a ban on indoor mixing between households, remained in place.

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