BBC host demands Starmer answer if Blair or Corbyn is better to follow ‘Say his name!’

Keir Starmer grilled by host on Blair and Corbyn stance

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Sir Keir Starmer faced a brutal grilling from BBC Radio 4’s Nick Robinson who demanded to know whether the Labour leader related, politically, more with Jeremy Corbyn or Tony Blair. Sir Keir has been accused of changing his political position to try and win over as many voters as he can with critics saying his policies are not cutting through to voters. Sir Keir said it was important to look at previous Labour leaders with Mr Robinson urging the opposition leader to simply “say his name”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Mr Robinson wanted to know where Sir Keir stood politically when compared to his predecessors.

He asked: “Trust is critical to this, that’s why you were saying so much about yourself in that [conference] speech – the first had to do in person.

“To the conference and in effect to the country as well.

“Just returning to Jeremy Corbyn, are people entitled to say [Sir Keir] sold himself to the Labour Party… by saying I’m a fan of Corbyn’s policies I’m just not a fan Jeremy Corbyn.

“Now you appear to be saying to the country, actually I’m a fan of Blair I just happen not to be called Tony Blair, which is it?”

Sir Keir rejected the claims and said: “No, that’s not fair, what I’ve said in my leadership election was that I’m in favour of economic justice.

“Rachel Reeves set that out in clear terms or Monday.

“Social justice, we’ve been setting that out in spades at our conference whether it’s housing or educational or employment.

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“And climate justice which I tackled head-on in my speech yesterday.

“In my leadership bid I said we look back at all governments, including the last one, with pride…”

Mr Robinson interrupted and asked: “Can you just say his name, Tony Blair was a successful Prime Minister?”

Sir Keir replied; “Tony Blair was a three times winner in the Labour Party and we need to get back to winners in the Labour Party.”

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Mr Robinson noted it was not something Sir Keir was able to say in his speech as the Labour leader attempted to avoid name dropping controversial figures.

In a separate interview with Sky News political editor Beth Rigby, the journalist accused Sir Keir of playing games with his politics.

She said Sir Keir had tried to appeal to the hard-left of the party by positioning himself as a Corbyn ally but when that failed he moved to the centre-ground.

During the Labour conference, Jeremy Corbyn wrote an article that accused the party’s leadership – including Sir Keir – of protecting the interests of the wealthy and powerful in the country.

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