Stop trying to work out if I’m closer to Blair or Corbyn, Starmer pleads

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Sir Keir Starmer has called for people to stop trying to work out whether his politics are closer to the ideologies of his predecessors Tony Blair or Jeremy Corbyn.

The Labour leader, who is bringing the party back closer to the centre ground, told people to end the comparison and instead listen to his proposals to get a “good sense of where I am”.

His moves have been interpreted as coming from the Blair playbook since succeeding Mr Corbyn in the wake of his crushing 2019 general election defeat on a left-wing manifesto.

But asked if he is more like Mr Blair or Mr Corbyn by ITV News in Brighton, the Labour leader said: “I’ve never indulged in these similarities.

“If people stopped comparing me to previous leaders, and actually listen to the proposals we’re putting out there they will have a very, very good sense of where I am.

“My job is not to replicate what some past leader has done, my job is to take our Labour Party and change it.”

Former prime minister Tony Blair (Victoria Jones/PA)
Former prime minister Tony Blair (Victoria Jones/PA)

He declined to say whether he was moving the party from the left to centre ground, saying some are “obsessed” by the definition while ordinary voters care about education, jobs and health.

“I’m moving it from a party that looks inward to a party that looks outwards, I’m moving it from a party that looks backwards to a party that looks forwards,” Sir Keir told Sky News.

He pledged to use his first in-person speech as leader at the party conference on Wednesday to set out his stall and show where “the future of our country lies”.

“Last year, I had to give the whole speech down the barrel of a camera with one other person in the room, and no reaction from anyone,” he told BBC News.

“This is an opportunity for me to set out where I think the future of our country lies, I haven’t had that opportunity yet and I’m really going to take it tomorrow.”

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