Sir Keir Starmer ‘puts plans in place for successor in case he is forced to quit’

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Sir Keir Starmer ‘puts plans in place for successor in case he is forced to quit’
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Sir Keir Starmer is planning for his own succession to ensure his legacy continues if he is forced to quit over claims he broke Covid rules, reports have claimed.

Durham Police opened an investigation into whether the Labour leader broke Covid regulations when he drank beer indoors with colleagues on April 30 last year.

He has promised to quit his role if he is fined for breaching the rules and has since returned a questionnaire to Durham police.

The Sunday Times reports that Sir Keir is putting plans in place so that “our hard-earned gains” are not “squandered” in case he is forced to step down.

He reportedly told friends: "I will not let this party become a basket case again. I will not let our hard-won gains be squandered so we will need to be ready in the unlikely event that the worst comes to the worst."

The paper adds that he has held discussions with various members of his shadow cabinet with leadership ambitions and advised them to put campaign teams in place.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting and Shadow Levelling Up Secretary Lisa Nandy are believed to be among the frontrunners who have been endorsed by Sir Keir.

One ally told the paper: "Keir has been engaging in some sensible succession planning but there is also suspicion in the shadow cabinet that a couple of people hope he gets fined so they can take over."

Shadow cabinet members who are expressing such disloyalty have been dubbed the "bhaji bandits" by colleagues, insiders say.

If Starmer resigns, a contest for his replacement would automatically be triggered.

Prospective candidates would need the support of at least 20 per cent of Labour MPs to make it onto the ballot.

Despite the reports, Shadow Levelling Up secretary, Lisa Nandy said any reports of Sir Keir’s succession are “absolute nonsense”.

She told Sky News: “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.”

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.

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