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Furious left-wingers accuse Keir Starmer of breaking nationalisation vow

Furious left-wingers accused Keir Starmer of breaking his vow to nationalise the Big Six energy firms today.

Sir Keir was accused of ‘swindling’ his way to the Labour leadership after he ruled out taking the main suppliers into full public ownership. 

Interviewed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Keir was shown his campaign pledges that ‘public services should be in public hands’ and he would ‘support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water’.

But he insisted: ‘I don’t see nationalisation there.’ Sir Keir said he would not be ‘ideological’ – but did not spell out what ‘common ownership’ means if not nationalisation. 

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott responded on Twitter that ‘everyone assumed’ during the leadership battle that Sir Keir backed nationalisation. 

Other left-wingers went further by accusing Sir Keir of ‘lying’ and ‘swindling’ his way to the party’s top job. 

Ex-spin doctor Matt Zarb-Cousin circulated footage on social media of Sir Keir raising his hand alongside other leadership candidates last year when asked if they backed nationalisation of energy. 

Sir Keir is likely to come under pressure from some unions not to backtrack on nationalisation.

A motion from Unite and the Communication Workers Union planned ahead of his comments urged him not to make ‘timid tweaks’ and said there is a clear case for ‘extending public ownership’ post-Covid. 

Keir Starmer was accused of ‘swindling’ his way to the Labour leadership after he ruled out taking the main suppliers into full public ownership

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott responded on Twitter that 'everyone assumed' during the leadership battle that Sir Keir backed nationalisation

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott responded on Twitter that ‘everyone assumed’ during the leadership battle that Sir Keir backed nationalisation

Labour former spin doctor Matt Zarb-Cousin accused Sir Keir of 'lying' and 'swindling' his way to the party's top job

Labour former spin doctor Matt Zarb-Cousin accused Sir Keir of ‘lying’ and ‘swindling’ his way to the party’s top job

Starmer rebukes defiant Rayner over ‘Tory scum’ attack  

Labour conference is already at risk of going into meltdown today as Keir Starmer rebuked Angela Rayner for branding Tory ministers ‘racist, homophobic, scum’ – and slapped down his shadow chancellor for suggesting income tax will not rise.

A clearly infuriated Sir Keir insisted ‘that is not language that I would use’ as he was grilled about the incendiary comments by his deputy to activists.

He said ominously that he would be ‘speaking to Angela later’ about the jibes, although he stopped short of demanding she apologise – something she has flatly refused to do.

Meanwhile, Sir Keir also appeared deeply frustrated when asked about Rachel Reeves insisting that she had no intention of increasing income tax. ‘Nothing is off the table,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.

The spats add to a torrid start to conference for Sir Keir, who has already been forced to water down a high-profile bid to overhaul internal party rules. 

It was another setback for Sir Keir after he rebuked Angela Rayner for branding Tory ministers ‘racist, homophobic, scum’ – and slapped down his shadow chancellor for suggesting income tax will not rise.

A clearly infuriated Sir Keir insisted ‘that is not language that I would use’ as he was grilled about the incendiary comments by his deputy to activists.

He said ominously that he would be ‘speaking to Angela later’ about the jibes, although he stopped short of demanding she apologise – something she has flatly refused to do.

Meanwhile, Sir Keir also appeared deeply frustrated when asked about Rachel Reeves insisting that she had no intention of increasing income tax. ‘Nothing is off the table,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.

The spats add to a torrid start to conference for Sir Keir, who has already been forced to water down a high-profile bid to overhaul internal party rules. 

He tried to get back on track today by re-announcing plans to tax private schools to boost the state sector, and also made a bold call for the government to grant 100,000 foreign drivers visas to solve the fuel and food crisis. 

But he is facing another backlash from the Left after ruling out re-nationalising the Big Six energy firms – something he appeared to support when running for the party’s top job. 

Ms Rayner – who has been accused of blatant leadership manouevring – launched the extraordinary attack on Conservatives during an event for activists at the Labour conference in Brighton last night.

But despite a furious reaction, Ms Rayner this morning insisted she was right to highlight ‘pretty scummy’ comments by Boris Johnson and others.

Unusually going head-to-head with Sir Keir on TV, she told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips programme she had been speaking at a ‘post-watershed’ fringe meeting with members to ‘fire them up’. 

Pressed on whether she regarded 14,000 Tory voters in her own Ashton-under-Lyne constituency as racist and homophobic, Ms Rayner said her remarks were about the PM. 

‘I am not saying anyone who voted for the Conservatives are racist or scummy,’ she added.

She made clear she would only apologise if the PM said sorry for his previous ‘racist’ comments. 

‘I’m not saying anyone voting for the Conservatives are racist scum,’ she said. ‘I’m saying the PM has said those things and acted in those way.’ 

Ms Rayner said: ‘Anyone who leaves children hungry during a pandemic and can give billions of pounds to their mates on WhatsApp, I think that was pretty scummy.’ 

Sir Keir looked uncomfortable as he was read Ms Rayner’s remarks on the Marr show this morning. ‘Angela and I take different approaches,’ he said. ‘That is not language I would use.’

He said he would ‘talk to Angela about it later’, although he stressed that whether to apologise was a ‘matter for her’. 

A clearly infuriated Sir Keir Starmer insisted ‘that is not language that I would use’ as he was grilled about the incendiary comments by deputy Angela Rayner to activists

Angela Rayner today flatly refused to apologise for branding Tory ministers 'racist, homophobic, scum' - saying she was just using 'street language'

Angela Rayner today flatly refused to apologise for branding Tory ministers ‘racist, homophobic, scum’ – saying she was just using ‘street language’ 

Starmer defends taxing private schools £1.7billion to raise cash for state sector 

Sir Keir Starmer has defended plans to force private schools to start paying tax in order to raise £1.7billion for state schools if Labour wins the next election.

The Labour leader is pledging to end charitable status for schools.

The VAT exemption is currently worth £1.6billion and they will also have to pay £104million in business rates.

‘This is a political choice to take that money and switch it to our state schools so that children and young people in our state schools have the best chance they can have to come out of schools ready for life, ready for work,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. 

Addressing a raucous meeting of North West activists last night, Ms Rayner said: ‘I’m sick of shouting from the sidelines, and i bet youse lot are too.

‘We cannot get any worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, mysoginistic, absolute pile …of banana republic…Etonian…piece of scum…and I held back a little…that I have ever seen in my life’.

On Sky News, Ms Rayner said that ‘scum’ is a ‘phrase that you would hear very often in northern working class towns’. 

‘We’d even say it jovially to other people. And that to me is my street language… ‘

She went on: ‘If the prime minister wants to apologise, and remove himself from those comments that he’s made that are homophobic that racist, that are misogynistic, then I will apologise for calling him scummy.’  

A grim-faced Sir Keir stared into the distance and kept walking as reporters caught up with him outside the Brighton Centre conference venue.

He kept up a determined silence for several minutes as they demanded to know whether he thought the Cabinet were ‘scum’ and if he would tell Ms Rayner to apologise.

Appearing on Sky News after Ms Rayner, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said she should offer a proper apology.

‘It is absolutely appalling,’ he said. ‘There is no place in public life for that sort of language, that sort of behaviour.’

He added: ‘It would be befitting if she just apologised rather than talking around the subject.’ 

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy also suggested that Ms Rayner should think again saying her comments were ‘not my preferred choice of words’. 

‘I’m not very interested in insulting the Tories. I just want to get rid of them,’ she told Times Radio.

‘She apologised in the chamber when she used language like that before. It’s completely up to her.’  

However, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell – who once joked about activists wanting to lynch former minister Esther McVey – defended Ms Rayner saying she was passionate and ‘we’ve all been there, late at night’. 

In an interview in the Sunday Times, Ms Reeves seemed to give a strong commitment on income tax.

‘I don’t have any plans to increase the rates of income tax,’ she said, adding: ‘I do think that people who get their income through wealth should have to pay more.’ 

She also said Labour wants to target ‘people who get their incomes through stocks and shares and buy-to-let properties’, as well as stopping people paying capital gains tax at 28 per cent rather than at the same rate as income tax.

But challenged on the income tax commitment, Sir Keir told the Marr show: ‘We’re looking at tax. Nothing is off the table.’ 

He said: ‘We don’t know what the state of the national finances will be as we go into the election.’ 

Bring in 100,000 foreign lorry drivers to fix supply chains crisis, says Keir Starmer 

Sir Keir Starmer today called for 100,000 foreign lorry drivers to be granted visas to come to the UK as he blasted the Government’s handling of the fuel crisis.

Ministers have announced a temporary visa scheme that will see 5,000 HGV drivers allowed to take up employment in the UK until Christmas Eve.

But Sir Keir said ‘we are going to have to bring in more drivers and more visas’ amid reports that the shortfall of drivers is north of 90,000.

The Labour leader said that ‘for a long time we have known there is a problem’ and it was ‘predicted’ the situation would get worse after Brexit.

He said the Government was guilty of a ‘complete lack of planning’ as he suggested he would also grant permission for EU workers to come to the UK to take jobs in other industries struggling with recruitment like hospitality and food processing.

Told that Ms Reeves had struck a different tone, the leader said: ‘What Rachel Reeves said is she’s not currently considering income tax and that is fine, but what I’m saying is as we go into the election we will apply the principles we have set out to the situation as it arises.

‘What we don’t want to do – whether it’s income tax or any other sort of tax, national insurance – is unfairly to hit working families, which is what this Government is doing.’ 

Labour sources insisted both politicians were trying to say they did not have plans in place yet. 

Sir Keir claimed that he is ‘happy’ with the party rule reforms, set to be signed off by conference later today. 

He had wanted to axe the one member one vote system and return to the previous electoral college, with members, MPs and unions each getting a third of the say on new leaders.

That proposal has now been abandoned, but Sir Keir is expected to secure a consolation prize with the proportion of MPs needed to nominate a leadership candidate set to rise from 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

The tweak could reduce the chances of a ‘Corbyn Mark 2’ by preventing left-wingers from getting on to the ballot.

Sir Keir insisted said pushing the watered down reforms through represented ‘strong leadership’.

Rejecting suggestions he needed to be more of a ‘showman’ like Mr Johnson, he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘It’s priced in, apparently, that he’s dishonest – priced in. Just stop there and ask ourselves: do we want our politics and our political leaders and our Prime Minister to be of a characteristic where they’re untrustworthy and where it’s priced in that they are dishonest?

‘I’m different, I’m afraid. I believe in integrity, I believe in truth.’

Sir Keir was shown one of his 10 campaign pledges stating that 'public services should be in public hands' and that he would 'support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water'. But pressed on whether that meant nationalisation, he replied: 'No.'

Sir Keir was shown one of his 10 campaign pledges stating that ‘public services should be in public hands’ and that he would ‘support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water’. But pressed on whether that meant nationalisation, he replied: ‘No.’

Sir Keir said: ‘I’ve just taken a tough decision in relation to rule changes, because I didn’t want to delay. And a tough, strong leader takes tough decisions when they arise and doesn’t dither and put them to one side.

‘I’m about to make my speech on Wednesday and that is an opportunity for me to set out where I think this country needs to go next, and what the alternative is to this Government which is in chaos, and we’re going to see that over the course of the next month.’

Sir Keir defended his plans – inherited from the Corbyn era – to remove charitable status from private schools, leaving them liable to VAT. 

‘This is a political choice to take that money and switch it to our state schools so that children and young people in our state schools have the best chance they can have to come out of schools ready for life, ready for work,’ he said. 

Amid Tory fury at Ms Rayner last night, minister Amanda Milling said: ‘Shocking. Angela Rayner must apologise for these comments. 

‘Don’t forget Rayner was Corbyn’s henchman when Labour became embroiled in antisemitism.

‘She failed to act. Rather than throwing around false accusations the Conservatives are focused on the people’s priorities.’

Fellow Foreign Office minister James Cleverly accused Ms Rayner of ‘talking crap’.

He said: ‘I’m sure this went down well in the room but when voters look at the party that has had both female PMs, with half of the great offices of state filled by women, half by BAME, most diverse government, more gay ministers than Labour ever had etc, they’ll know she’s talking crap.’

It isn’t the first time the outspoken MP has caused controversy by calling the Tories scum.

Last October, Tory backbencher Chris Clarkson demanded an apology from Angela Rayner in a public letter after he suggested that the Labour frontbench was viewing the pandemic as a ‘good crisis’ to be exploited.

However, the hard-Left Corbynite then heckled Mr Clarkson, who asked: ‘Excuse me, did the honourable lady just call me scum?’

The exchange prompted an intervention from a furious Commons Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing who said she would not accept such comments in the chamber ‘under any circumstances’.

Sir Keir is assailed by anti-Brexit and electoral reform campaigners at Labour conference today

Sir Keir is assailed by anti-Brexit and electoral reform campaigners at Labour conference today

Former Labour MP Michael Dugher was among those decrying Ms Rayner's comments today

Former Labour MP Michael Dugher was among those decrying Ms Rayner’s comments today

Appearing on the same show afterwards, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Ms Rayner should offer a full apology

Appearing on the same show afterwards, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Ms Rayner should offer a full apology

Government minister Amanda Milling called on the Labour MP to apologise for the 'shocking' remarks

It isn't the first time the outspoken MP has caused controversy by calling the Tories scum

Government minister Amanda Milling (left) called on Ms Rayner (right) to apologise for the ‘shocking’ remarks

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