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Starmer wins backing of billionaire BlackRock chief: ‘He offers hope to British politics’

One of the world’s leading financiers has given his backing to Sir Keir Starmer, saying the Labour leader offers a “measurement of hope” to British politics.

Larry Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, told the Wall Street Journal that Sir Keir had shown “real strength” in bringing Labour back to the centre ground of British politics after Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

The American financier suggested that the party’s makeover might indicate that the pendulum of global politics had swung back to the centre after the populism of Brexit, Mr Corbyn and Donald Trump.

He told the Free Expression podcast: “Keir Starmer has shown real strength as a moderate Labour Party.

“If you think about the UK, the UK was the one that started the high level of populism through the Brexit, and then the populism here led to Donald Trump being president. Well, we’ll see what happens, if Starmer gets elected in, let’s say a year from now. But I believe that’s a measurement of hope.”

Mr Fink, a billionaire who gives money to the US Democrats, met both the Conservative and Labour Parties on a visit to the UK and said was impressed by how Sir Keir had turned the party around.

Larry Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock (Getty Images)
Larry Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock (Getty Images)

Answering questions on the challenges of political leadership in the US, Fink said: “I’m very pleased to see how the Labour Party in the UK went from an extremist party with a Marxist leader to Keir Starmer who has shown real strength as a moderate Labour party.”

“The pendulum went so far there,” he said, referring to Mr Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.

Mr Corbyn led the party from 2015 until he quit in April 2020 after its resounding defeat in the 2019 election.

After Sir Keir took over the leadership, a dossier drawn up by the party suggested Labour officials opposed to Mr Corbyn worked to lose the 2017 general election in the hope that a bad result would trigger a leadership contest to oust him.

Mr Fink, a “lifelong” Democrat who backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, also praised Rishi Sunak for rolling back on net-zero-carbon targets.

He said: “Power is more important than your strategy, okay, keeping the lights on. In the UK, they weren’t going to ever meet those targets they overdid, so he actually rolled back to some more sensibility, in my opinion.”

Sir Keir has long tried to woo the business vote, promising planning reforms and a modern industrial strategy to revive the economy.

A BlackRock spokesperson said: “Larry was offering his observations on the transformation of the Labour Party and his view that political parties moving back toward the centre was a measurement of hope. He was not offering an endorsement of any political party.”