Today, Sir Keir Starmer was accused of changing his mind towards union-backed strikes when Diane Abbott drew attention to a speech he gave in 2020 in which he vowed to “stand with” employees taking strike action.
The Sir Keir video from the party’s leadership contest was released by the former Labour frontbencher. He told striking university professors that Labour MPs’ backing of people battling for improved wages and working conditions was “really important.”
Ms Abbott drew attention to a video of the remarks posted on social media and stated:
“Starmer on a University and College Union picket line in 2020.”
After removing shadow transport minister Sam Tarry from the frontbench last week, the Labour leader has been under severe criticism from inside his own party.
The MP for Ilford South was fired after he joined a picket line of striking rail workers and gave several unapproved interviews to the press in which he seemed to make up Labour policy on the spot.
Sir Keir had forbidden his top team from joining the strikers only the day before.
He stated: “The Labour party in opposition needs to be the Labour party in power, and a government doesn’t go on picket lines.”
The position is in clear contrast to what he claimed while making his leadership bid to members of the University and College Union.
In the recently discovered video, he spoke to workers standing on a picket line outside University College London: “It’s really important you get politicians to come out and support you and stand with you in this.”
“I’m very proud to do that to be with you this morning and to support you through this campaign both as the local MP for here but also in the shadow cabinet and running as leader of the Labour Party.
“Because my leadership, if I win it, will be standing with you and other campaigns like you.”