Hard left union kingpin warns Keir Starmer is 'not to be trusted'
Hard left union kingpin suggests Keir Starmer ‘cannot to be trusted’ and demands Labour leader is more ‘radical’ instead of going ‘down the route of Tony Blair’ as he tries to win power
- PCS boss Mark Serwotka lashed out at Sir Keir for binning a series of 10 pledges
- Said Labour can’t ‘rely on the fact that people are fed up with the Conservatives’
The militant leader of a civil service union has warned that Labour leader Keir Starmer is not to be trusted and demanded he be more leftwing and ‘radical’.
Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) general secretary Mark Serwotka lashed out at Sir Keir for binning a series of 10 ‘socialist’ pledges he stood on when he ran to replace Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Serwotka, who was a close ally of Mr Corbyn, used a radio interview to warn his successor that ‘anyone who makes 10 pledges and then breaks them is not in a position to ask to be trusted’.
He also cautioned against emulating triple election-winning leader Sir Tony Blair after a shadow cabinet reshuffle promoted several MPs who served in the last Labour administration.
Sir Keir and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves have also pledged fiscal discipline if Labour wins the next election, with the country likely still to be in the grip of a financial crisis and little Treasury headroom.
But in an interview with LBC the union leader said Sir Keir, who has led his party to a double digit poll lead over the Tories, had to ‘enthuse people to vote for Labour with a real radical vision, not just rely on the fact that people are fed up with the Conservatives.’
‘I hope Sir Keir Starmer accepts we should not go down the route of Tony Blair and actually lose the opportunity to do radical change in this country. He should embrace the fact that we are in a crisis and we need radical solutions to that crisis, not financial conservatism,’ he said.
Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)general secretary Mark Serwotka lashed out at Sir Keir for binning binning a series of 10 ‘socialist’ pledges he stood on when he ran to replace Jeremy Corbyn .
Sir Keir (pictured today) and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves have also pledged fiscal discipline if Labour wins the next election, with the country likely still to be in the grip of a financial crisis and little Treasury headroom.
In July last year Sir Keir junked the promises he made in 2020, as he campaigned to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, and blamed the economic impact of the Covid crisis.
‘The financial situation has changed, the debt situation has changed,’ he said at the time.
Sir Keir’s 10 pledges were:
- – to increase income tax for the top five per cent of earners
- – to abolish Universal Credit and university tuition fees
- – to introduce a Clean Air Act to tackle pollution
- – to have ‘no more illegal wars’ and review all UK arms sales
- – to support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water
- – to ‘defend free movement as we leave the EU’
- – to work ‘shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people’
- – to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected chamber
- – to ‘pull down obstacles that limit opportunities and talent’
- – robust action to eradicate antisemitism and to maintain Labour’s links with unions
He also abandoned Labour’s 2019 election manifesto, after Mr Corbyn led the party to an historic defeat.
Mr Serwotka said: ‘The problem I have with Keir Starmer, if you get elected by making 10 solemn pledges, and then when it comes to face the electorate, you have actually ripped up the majority of those pledges, you don’t stand high on the list of Labour leaders in my book.
One of Sir Keir’s 10 ‘socialist’ pledges was a promise to ‘support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water’
‘But he still has time to recognise that if he still stands by the vision that he set out when he was elected as Labour leader, then he can reclaim a lot of support and goodwill – but he has got work to do.’
Sir Keir today said Labour is ‘looking to the future’ after another union boss, Unite’s Sharon Graham, accused his party of being a ’90s tribute act’.
The Labour leader, who is heading to Liverpool later today to dine with the TUC general council, insisted there is ‘a lot of common ground’ with trade unions.
The party’s moves to sideline left-wingers and a perceived lack of support in industrial disputes has attracted union anger.
Asked about Unite general secretary Ms Graham’s comment, Sir Keir told reporters at an east London school: ‘The Labour Party is absolutely focused on the future, not the past, and the challenges that we will inherit if we’re privileged enough to go into government.
‘The central challenge will be growing the economy. Within that is dignity and respect for working people in their working environment.’
Asked how he plans to keep unions on side, Sir Keir said: ‘The Labour Party and the trade unions have had a long relationship together and we had a big session at the beginning of the summer where we agreed policy going forward.
‘So what you’ll see here is a lot of common ground as we go towards what we know will be really huge challenges.’
Labour’s National Policy Forum document, agreed in July, is reportedly expected to be published soon.
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