Keir Starmer 'needs to listen to his party more' says Diane Abbott
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Jeremy Corbyn wrote an article slamming Sir Keir Starmer and accused him of “propping up the wealthy and powerful” by running away from Labour ideas of high taxation of the richest. The damning column has shone a brighter light on the fractures among the Labour Party following Andy McDonald’s resignation and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner splitting the party on her “scum” Tory comments. Diane Abbott was confronted with Mr Corbyn’s words during her appearance on Radio 4 and bluntly said “Jeremy is always right” during a staunch defence of the former Labour leader.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, host Nick Robinson wanted to know whether Jeremy Corbyn was right to criticise Sir Keir in his article.
He asked Ms Abbott: “Is Keir Starmer part of a group of people who want to prop up the wealthy and the powerful?
“The words of Jeremy Corbyn in an article, you’re close to Jeremy is he right that the Labour leadership now wants to prop up the wealthy and the powerful?”
Ms Abbott nervously laughed before stating: “Jeremy is always right, but on the question of Keir Starmer we have to look at some of these advisors.
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“It now seems Peter Mandelson is now his advisor.”
Ms Abbott said you only have to look at Mr Mandelson’s record to see “where he stands” on particular issues.
Mr Robinson was also interested to hear Ms Abbott’s thoughts on Andy McDonald resigning over a lack of support for his £15-a-hour minimum wage campaign.
Mr Robinson asked: “Some of Keir Starmer’s close aides claimed this is a deliberate plotted sabotage.
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“Mr McDonald’s resignation came just days after it actually he approved a package including this lower figure for the minimum wage.
“And hey presto, there are all sorts of photos, tweets, which come out the moment the secretary resigns.
“This is a campaign to sabotage Keir Starmer’s conference.”
Ms Abbott rejected those claims and said: “This is, of course, nonsense, Andy McDonald is not like that at all.
“And the fact that Keir Starmer did support £15-an-hour until recently and he’s been on protest demanding it.
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“So it’s quite strange that he was so insistent that Andy McDonald argue with conference delegates for just £10.”
Mr Robinson pointed out the argument was to push for £10-an-hour at least with an aim to get £15 if you could get it.
Ms Abbott said it was all good clapping for key workers but not campaigning to get them a better wage was wrong.
She added Mr McDonald would not simply follow leadership advice to keep his job hence why he chose to step down so he could be critical.
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