Labour: Harrop says Starmer ‘comes with a lot of baggage’
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General Secretary of the Fabian Society Andrew Harrop spoke to Express.co.uk and believes Sir Keir Starmer could lead Labour to a general election victory once the “baggage” of Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn is forgotten about. Mr Harrop explains traditional Labour issues are being drowned out by these big political events which he says have slowed down Labour’s success. The think tank leader believes many see Sir Keir Starmer as a “competent, decent man” who could become Prime Minister one day but is held back by Corbyn and Brexit.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Harrop was asked what he thinks is the reason why voters are turning their back on the party.
The Politico Poll of Polls put Labour eight points behind the Conservatives at 42 to 34 percent on July 9.
Labour also suffered a huge general election loss in 2019 which saw the party lose 40 seats and a large vote swing away.
Mr Harrop answered: “Firstly, the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
“Jeremy Corbyn was very popular with some people who were really energised and inspired to come into politics.
“But more people were put off from the Labour Party by Jeremy Corbyn and just couldn’t really see him as a potential Prime Minister.
“It takes time to move on from that so even though most people look at Keir Starmer and see a highly competent, decent man they can imagine being Prime Minister.
“He comes with a lot of baggage and that will only take time to fade.
Andrew Harrop discusses Labour's position on Indyref2
“And the other big piece of baggage is the Brexit referendum which divided British politics in a new way we’ve not seen before.
“Partly continuing some of those trends of Labour drifting away from working-class communities outside of big cities.
“But it really sped that process up.
“Labour’s found it very hard over the last five years to appeal to people on both sides of the Brexit divide by people who voted leave and remain.
“And the party’s hope is that will gradually change over time as Brexit is something we look through the rearview mirror rather than seeing it as sort of the most pressing issue facing the country.
“Leaders hope that they can move the conversation on while still respecting the choice people made about Brexit.”
Labour narrowly won the Batley and Spen by-election by 323 votes after critics of Sir Keir Starmer questioned his leadership following the Hartlepool by-election defeat.
Many believed it may have been time up for Sir Keir as rumours circulated of prominent Labour frontbenchers secretly waging leadership bids if the by-election was lost.
Kim Leadbeater, who won the Batley by-election, was subject to abuse and heckling from political opponents during her campaign which may have swung some votes her way.
Conservative think tank Bow Group told Express.co.uk that Labour is struggling to gain support because of their refusal to back Brexit.
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