Tony Blair warns Keir Starmer is letting Labour be destroyed by the ‘woke Left’ as leader’s ratings slump BELOW Corbyn’s – while Angela Rayner admits ‘robust’ crisis talks and Ed Miliband says party should become more radical to fix ‘unfair’ Britain
- Tony Blair has delivered scorching assessment of threat facing Labour Party
- He warned that it was being defined by the ‘woke’ Left and has no clear message
- Keir Starmer under huge pressure after disastrous elections and reshuffle chaos
Tony Blair today warned that Labour is being destroyed by the ‘woke Left’ as Keir Starmer’s ratings plunge amid a vicious civil war.
The former PM delivered a scorching assessment of his party’s condition, saying it needs ‘total reconstruction’ and Sir Keir lacks a ‘compelling economic message’.
The leader’s failure to ‘clarify’ a cultural message also means Labour is being ‘defined by the ”woke” Left’, according to Mr Blair.
The verdict, in an article for Labour bible the New Statesman, came as Sir Keir desperately tried to stabilise after a disastrous set of elections and a botched reshuffle.
The latest YouGov polling has given Sir Keir a net rating of minus 48, with two-thirds of voters saying he is doing badly. It is even worse than the minus 40 Jeremy Corbyn was recording at a similar point in the last parliament – before Boris Johnson secured his historic Commons majority.
Angela Rayner has risked fuelling raging infighting by admitting to ‘robust’ discussions with Sir Keir, who tried to sack her last week before backing down and offering her a more high-profile job.
Meanwhile, Ed Miliband went on the airwaves to defend Sir Keir this morning and suggested he supported calls for a more left-wing agenda.
Tony Blair today warned that Labour is being destroyed by the ‘woke Left’ as Keir Starmer’s ratings plunge amid a vicious civil war
The verdict, in an article for Labour bible the New Statesman, came as Sir Keir (left today) desperately tried to stabilise after a disastrous set of elections and a botched reshuffle. Ed Miliband (right) went on the airwaves to defend Sir Keir this morning and suggested he supported calls for a more left-wing agenda
The latest YouGov polling has given Sir Keir a net rating of minus 48, with two-thirds of voters saying he is doing badly
Mr Miliband said Labour needed to be ‘bolder’ and branded Britain ‘unfair, unequal and unproductive’.
In his article, Mr Blair said of Sir Keir: ‘He lacks a compelling economic message and the cultural message, because he is not clarifying it, is being defined by the ‘woke’ Left, whose every statement gets cut-through courtesy of the right.’
He added: ‘The Labour Party won’t revive simply by a change of leader.
‘It needs total deconstruction and reconstruction. Nothing less will do.’
He warned that political parties have ‘no divine right to exist’ and progressive movements are facing ‘extinction across the Western world’.
Mr Blair went on: ‘A progressive party seeking power which looks askance at the likes of Trevor Phillips, Sara Khan, or JK Rowling, is not going to win.
‘People are suspicious that behind the agenda of many of the culture warriors on the left lies an ideology they find alien and extreme.’
In interviews last night, deputy leader Ms Rayner referred to her ‘very frank relationship’ with Sir Keir.
She claimed she was appointed to her new roles because she wanted to be more ‘front-facing’ in the reshuffled top team, after she was stripped of her roles as party chairwoman and campaign co-ordinator over the weekend.
Amid accusations the Labour leader was trying to make Ms Rayner a scapegoat, it was announced late on Sunday she would be given a new role shadowing Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.
She admitted that members of the public did not know what Sir Keir ‘stood for’ before they went to the polls, as Labour looks to reconnect with voters after the party’s crushing defeat in the Hartlepool by-election.
During an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, Ms Rayner said: ‘I’m not going to discuss the robust conversations that me and Keir have and have always had.
‘We have had a very frank relationship and I welcome that, actually, I think it’s really constructive.
‘And we came to a decision over the weekend of where both of us felt I could make the best opportunity and the best of my skills in supporting his leadership, and that’s what I want to do in my new role.’
Pressed on whether the Labour leader had tried to sack her, Ms Rayner said: ‘I’m really happy in the role I have got and I think the general public are not so much interested in my job but actually interested in their jobs.’
Sir Keir has been coming under pressure from the hard-Left to return to Jeremy Corbyn policies, despite him having overseen the party’s worst general election defeat since 1935.
Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if the Labour Party should be bolder and back proposals similar to US President Joe Biden’s one trillion dollar green investment plan, Mr Miliband said: ‘We propose a £30 billion green infrastructure plan, absolutely we should be doing that.
‘We should be bolder, of course we should be bolder.
‘Thinking about the country is the right thing for our party in the following sense, which is this country needs big economic change, that’s what Keir Starmer believes in, that’s what he talked about in his Queen’s Speech yesterday.
‘He believes we are an unfair, unequal and unproductive country, and that’s got to change.
Sir Keir and Ms Rayner (pictured taking the knee together) have been trying to paper over their differences
Sir Keir suffered another blow yesterday as it emerged Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris has stood down as his parliamentary aide
‘Now that is the right thing for the country and the right way to unite our coalition.’
Sir Keir suffered another blow yesterday when it emerged close aide Carolyn Harris stepped down from her role as parliamentary private secretary amid reports she was involved in the bitter briefing war between the Labour leader’s office and Ms Rayner.
The Times reported that the resignation of the MP for Swansea East, who is also deputy leader of Welsh Labour, came amid allegations she had spread ‘baseless rumours’ about the deputy leader.
In a statement, Ms Harris said: ‘Stepping back from this role is the right thing at this moment, coming as it does after some trying personal times and an ever-increasing workload as deputy leader of Welsh Labour.
‘I have enjoyed every minute, and look forward to supporting Keir the best way I can in the months ahead.’
Following the final results of Thursday’s English council elections, the Tories gained 294 councillors across the nation, while Labour lost 267.
Ms Rayner told the BBC: ‘What I heard on the doorstep is that they didn’t know what Keir Starmer stood for, so that’s what I think our challenge is, actually.
‘It’s not people briefing, saying we think Keir thinks this, we think Keir thinks that, but actually about what are we doing, what are our policies?’
She said this was partly because the Labour leader had ‘put the country first’ and acted as a ‘constructive opposition’ to the Government during the pandemic.
Asked if she had any ambition of becoming Labour leader, she told the BBC: ‘I want to get Keir into Number 10 to be prime minister because I know he can do a better job.
‘I rule out at the moment anything that doesn’t get us into that prospect of me being the deputy prime minister, that’s what I want.’
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