Sir Keir’s media round got violently derailed this morning. Now the HS2 rail extension to Leeds has been scrapped, Labour’s immediately called the announcement “a great train robbery” and insisted the north is being “sold out“. Sir Keir even claimed “the north of England has been betrayed“. The only problem is Starmer himself openly opposed HS2 for years, both as a candidate and later as an MP.
Leading up to the 2015 election, Starmer said that “fighting HS2” was one of his “top priorities” for his constituents – even ahead of the NHS:
Once he was elected, Starmer continued opposing the plans. Here he is handing in a signed petition against them in Parliament:
In 2016, he then voted against the HS2 bill on the grounds that his constituents were “facing 20yrs of devastation“:
Just voted against HS2 Bill: it is my duty to stand with my constituents facing 20yrs of devastation @CamdenLabour— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) March 23, 2016
Now that the government is rowing back its own plans, Starmer is suddenly HS2’s biggest cheerleader in the Commons. Starmer was so on the back foot during the interview he even got confused with his dates, claiming he was elected leader in 2018 – a full two years wide of the mark…