Starmer launches UK Labour leadership bid with call to end factionalism

LONDON (Reuters) – Keir Starmer, the frontrunner in the race to lead Britain’s main opposition Labour Party, has pledged to end feuding within its ranks and take the fight to Prime Minister Boris Johnson if he wins the contest.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks to members of the media as he leaves the BBC headquarters after appearing on The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he will step down after the party’s worst general election performance since 1935 handed Johnson’s Conservatives, or Tories, a large majority in parliament.

The Corbyn era, which began in 2015 when the veteran socialist unexpectedly won the leadership, was marked by bitter infighting between the party’s leftist and centrist wings.

“We cannot fight the Tories if we are fighting each other. Factionalism has to go,” Starmer, 57, said on Saturday in a speech in Manchester, northern England, to formally launch his leadership campaign.

Starmer urged party supporters to stop attacking the achievements of the Labour governments led by Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown between 1997 and 2010, and not to dismiss Corbyn’s record.

“We are not going to trash the last Labour government, but nor are we going to trash the last four years,” he said. “There have been very many important moves.”

Despite winning three successive general elections — the only Labour leader to do so —


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