In December, the Labour Party suffered its worst defeat since 1935. In the run-up to the election, the party’s manifesto received heavy criticism for being unrealistic, overreaching, and unpersuasive.Former Labour Party leader Tony Blair described it as “promising the earth but from a planet other than Earth”.
However, according to the Diagnosis of Defeat report written by Lord Michael Ashcroft, what really cost the party the election was its leader – Jeremy Corbyn.
The report, published earlier this year, was based on a poll of more than 10,000 voters as well as focus groups in traditional Labour heartlands that turned blue.
Sir Keir Starmer – who succeeded Mr Corbyn on April 4 – certainly appears to be different from his predecessor.
First of all, Mr Starmer’s scepticism of Mr Corbyn was evident early on, as he did not initially back the former leader and was later part of the effort to oust him in 2016.
When this failed, Mr Starmer served as his Shadow Brexit Secretary.
The son of a nurse and a tool maker, Mr Starmer attended a grammar school and then Oxford University. A human-rights lawyer, he was the director of public prosecutions between 2008 and 2013.
As many Labour supporters wonder whether he will be able to restore the party’s electability, a senior barrister who has known Sir Keir for many years has shed some light on his personality.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, the senior barrister, who wishes to remain anonymous, claimed that while Sir Keir might be modelling his policies around former Labour leader Tony Blair, there is another figure within the movement he might be more similar to.
He said: “As a politician, personally, I see his demeanour and to an extent his politics as very New Labour, not that he nor his allies would want him to be seen as New Labour but centrist yes.
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“He will plug his socialist credentials as he has to and there is no doubt he is sincere on his social values and commitment to public services but you can see he has modelled aspects of his delivery, his style on Tony Blair – just without the messianic demeanour.”
The source added: “Is he very Blair?
“He does the whole blank canvas thing well, which Blair managed in his early years in charge of the party – handy when you are trying to unite big factions and outward face at the same time.
“Perhaps he is more like Clement Attlee, who no doubt had a huge success.
“Look at what he achieved as the post war Prime Minister after the government of national unity.
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“He served from 45 to 51 and yet for many had a personality bypass.”
Mr Attlee was born on January 2, 1883.
Just like Sir Keir, he had a conventional middle-class upbringing, and after going to Oxford University began a career as a barrister.
However, he abandoned this to become a social worker in the East End of London, and later joined the Labour Party.
He was leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955, and served as Britain’s Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951.
As Prime Minister, he enlarged and improved social services and the public sector in post-war Britain, creating the National Health Service and nationalising major industries and public utilities.
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