Starmer’s Month of the Long Knives

Keir Starmer wasn’t lying when he told Piers Morgan he’d been “listening” to Tony Blair’s leadership advice. Over the past few weeks, Sir Keir’s been pulling every lever within reach to fulfill the promise of a “total deconstruction and reconstruction” of the Labour Party. A “reconstruction” which, coincidentally, means appointing a load of Blairites…

Almost every organ of the party – from the Leader’s Office, to the frontbench, to the PLP, and to the National Executive Committee – has seen a wave of changes over the last few weeks. It hasn’t happened overnight, though now the purpose is quite clear: a doubling down on “New New Labour”.

In the Leader’s Office, Blairite Sam White was recently enlisted as Chief of Staff replacing Morgan McSweeney, joining new strategist Deborah Mattinson (Blair/Brown adviser), and interim director of communications Matthew Doyle (Blair adviser) replaces Ben Nunn. This, of course, follows Carolyn Harris’s resignation as Starmer’s parliamentary private secretary in May, along with Jenny Chapman’s unceremonious shafting as his director of politics a month later. Deconstruction and reconstruction, piece by piece.

Over in the PLP, Ben Folley (a relic of the Corbyn golden years) has announced today he’s leaving his role as General Secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party, which follows Starmer’s ruthless purge of thousands of far-left loons at the National Executive Committee meeting last week. And of course, this is before you even get to the botched reshuffle of the frontbench…

UPDATE 28 July: Keir Starmer’s speechwriter and close aide Chris Ward has told colleagues he is quitting according to the Guardian. Which begs the question, who will be his new speechwriter? If he is recycling Blairites, he could bring back Phil Collins, the recently sacked Times columnist now with time on his hands. After all he did write some of the most memorable speeches for Tony Blair…

UPDATE 29 July: Tom Hughes, who worked on Starmer’s leadership campaign before joining the leader’s office as press officer and spokesperson, is leaving.

mdi-timer 26 July 2021 @ 16:00 26 Jul 2021 @ 16:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Leaked Labour Briefing Admits Public Give Tories Benefit of Doubt on Coronavirus

An internal briefing to the Labour LGA leaked to Guido admits that “large majorities” are giving the government the benefit of the doubt over its handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite some Labour MPs focusing relentlessly on death tolls, polling commissioned for the Labour Party found that a big majority of the public agree with the statement that:

“Responding to the Coronavirus would have been hard for any government and on the whole the government has done as well as could be expected”

The document also warns Labour campaigners in capital letters that “VACCINATION IS POPULAR!” – encouraging local parties to instead be positive about the rollout, and focus on thanking the NHS. Seems the pandemic hasn’t been “a good crisis” for Labour after all…

A companion document prepared for LGA Labour by consultancy The Campaign Company, and also leaked to Guido, tells the party that “last year has not fundamentally re-set the terms” of politics. Instead it recommends that the most effective points of attack on the Government are not the lockdown delays, rather messaging should instead focus on bread and butter services, council tax, development, outsourcing”. Looks like Labour squandered their “great opportunity“…

UPDATE: The Times’ Patrick Maguire points out that “the firm that drafted this briefing for LGA Labour – The Campaign Company – was founded and until last June run by David Evans, Labour’s general secretary. Also used to employ Morgan McSweeney, Starmer’s chief of staff”. This is Team Starmer’s thinking…

mdi-timer 19 March 2021 @ 16:45 19 Mar 2021 @ 16:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments