Labour would not nationalise Big Six energy firms, Keir Starmer tells Marr

The Andrew Marr Show

Keir Starmer said that he would not nationalise the Big Six energy firms, that it was “not right” to say “only women have a cervix” as Rosie Duffield did, that he would “talk to Angela [Rayner]” about her calling Tories “scum” and that delaying his rule changes would be “weakness”.

  • Confirmed that as Prime Minister he would bring in 100,000 foreign drivers to tackle the HGV crisis and criticised the “complete lack of planning” by government.
  • On whether Labour would scrap the health and social care levy: “It is wrong to bring that in… Our alternative would be that those with the broadest shoulders pay.” He added: “When we get to the election, we will set out our stall.”
  • On Labour’s fiscal rules: “We’ll pay for day to day spending, we’ll borrow to invest and we’ll bring down debt as a share of our economy. We are looking at tax – nothing is off the table.”
  • “Don’t ask me to write our manifesto on your show.”
  • “The principle is that we will not unfairly hit working families. That’s the principle. But Andrew we are two to three years from an election.”
  • “What Rachel Reeves said is she’s not currently considering income tax, which is fine.”
  • On whether Labour would nationalise the Big Six energy firms: “No… I do not agree with the argument that says we must be ideological.”
  • “Where common ownership is value for money for the taxpayer and delivers better services, then there should be common ownership.”
  • On Rosie Duffield not coming to conference: “I spoke to Rosie earlier this week and told her conference is a safe place for her to come.”
  • Asked whether it is transphobic to say only women have a cervix: “It is something that shouldn’t be said, it is not right.”
  • On Angela Rayner referring to Tories as “scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic”: “Angela and I take different approaches and that’s not language I would use.”
  • On whether she should apologise: “I wouldn’t have used those words and I will talk to Angela about it later on.”
  • On whether his leadership rule changes are designed to prevent a Corbynites being elected: “No.”
  • On the idea his rule changes should be delayed: “I think to delay it and not to take a difficult decision is weakness. I think strong leadership requires tough decisions to be taken, to be taken quickly.”
  • He added: “I’ll take three days of arguing about rule changes, then get them through, than do what everyone else is saying and put them off for another 12 months.”
  • On his colleagues saying he ‘isn’t really a politician’ and a ‘showman’ is needed: “It’s priced in apparently that [Boris Johnson is] dishonest. Priced in…  I’m different, I’m afraid. I believe in integrity. I believe in truth.”
  • On whether he should stand down as leader: “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 decisions when they arise and doesn’t dither and put them to one side.”

Trevor Phillips on Sunday

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said she and Labour leader Keir Starmer agree on his party rule changes and defended her comments about Tory ministers, in which she described them as “scum”.

  • Asked whether Starmer spoke to her about his proposed rule changes before conference: “Of course, yeah, and he spoke to the trade unions and many others about the proposals that he felt were needed to have a conversation about.”
  • On her amendment to Starmer’s proposals (which was not put to a vote): “As deputy leader, I wanted to make sure that we’re able to have more women on the ballot, more Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates on the ballot.”
  • She added: “We are in agreement… It was a tidying up of what was the same thing that we were both trying to achieve. So it wasn’t a – we call them ‘friendly amendments’ in the movement.”
  • On her criticism of Tory ministers: “What I was trying to get across… is the anger and frustration that people feel when you have a Prime Minister who has said things and not apologised for them that are racist, that are misogynistic, that are homophobic, that has given billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to their mates and literally wasted that money at a time when they’re cutting Universal Credit, plunging families into crisis and the cost of living is going up.”
  • She added: “I’m not saying anybody who voted Conservative are those things. I’m saying the Prime Minister has said those things and acted in those ways.”
  • Asked to apologise: “If the Prime Minister wants to apologise and remove himself from those comments that he’s made that are homophobic, that are racist, that are misogynistic, then I will apologise for calling him scum.”
  • On fair pay agreements, unions and employers: “By having collective bargaining, having that negotiation, often they come to agreement because employers and trade unions have one common aim and that’s for the business to flourish.”
  • Put to her that Labour’s new deal for working people contains nothing new compared to the last manifesto: “I’m consistent, if nothing else. And then on top of that there’s a suite of other things we’ve announced.
  • She added: “The green paper I published yesterday has things like rights from day one for all workers, talking about a single status for workers so that we have parental leave so that we have rights from unfair dismissal from day one and that people can get that support, I talked about flexible working.”
  • On removing charity status from private schools: “We shouldn’t be subsidising private education when you’ve got so many young people now who haven’t got those opportunities… That money should go back into supporting young people.”
  • Asked whether it is “embarrassing” that Labour has never had woman leader: “It’s about how you bring people forward… Keir has been very strong on supporting women.”
  • On Rosie Duffield MP not attending conference: “Abuse at that level is completely unacceptable and Rosie deserves our full support and protection and she would get that… Anybody who abuses Rosie Duffield, who is a member of the Labour Party, would go through our formal complaints procedure.”

Labour MP and former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said announcements from the party at conference had been “drowned out” by disagreement over the constitution and urged the leadership to “forget these rule changes”.

  • Asked whether Labour’s policies on employment and private schools are similar to the 2019 election manifesto: “A lot of it is building on what we did.”
  • On policy and the rule changes proposed by the leadership: “That got drowned out by all this falling out over the constitutional rules of the party. We had two really good announcements this weekend… That got completely drowned out.”
  • On the proposals as reached by the NEC: “I don’t think actually we need a change in the rules. But if it goes through, to be honest we’ll work with it. It won’t prevent the left wing coming forward… I would oppose it.”
  • Asked whether the rule changes proposed by Starmer will be passed by Labour conference today: “I think it’s touch and go, to be honest. I can’t predict that at all.”
  • On Starmer: “On the constitutional changes, he never said a word about that when he stood for leader and I think he should have done. If he was going to change our constitutional rules, he should have said it then.”
  • Asked whether Starmer should “stand again” in a new leadership election before pushing for his preferred rule changes: “If necessary… Ed Miliband even had a special conference. Don’t try and bounce the party like this.”
  • On the Labour leadership and whether it “trusts” the membership: “There are some people, maybe around Keir as well, I don’t think it’s Keir himself… who have a pathological fear of democracy and of our members.”
  • He added: “When Keir stood for leader, he said he was going to engage with members more and members would have more of a role… So we’re saying to him, look, get back on track. Forget these rule changes, get on with the discussion about policy.”
  • On Angela Rayner’s criticism of Tory ministers and whether he would use those terms: “We’ve all been there – late at night, getting very angry about what’s going on… What she’s angry about are the issues we’re all angry about.”
  • On Unite general secretary Sharon Graham not attending conference: “Her job is at the moment, as she sees it, to concentrate on her members who are struggling in this economic climate. So I can understand why she put that as a priority.”

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea described the government decision to make Covid vaccination a condition of employment for care workers as “wrong” and urged ministers to “do more persuasion”.

  • On mandatory Covid vaccination being made a condition of employment for care workers: “It’s wrong. I think it’s the wrong thing to do… Going down the compulsion route is just counterproductive.”
  • She added: “People who have genuinely got conditions or concerns about why they cannot be vaccinated or don’t want to be vaccinated… given where we are in the pandemic, they’ll just leave. They’ll walk away from the job.”
  • Asked what could be done instead: “What we’ve said to the government is: do more persuasion and actually find out why people aren’t getting vaccinated.”
  • Asked whether the UK is heading for a ‘winter of discontent’: “There’s certainly a lot of discontent out there but whether it will turn into full-scale industrial action, I don’t know. That will be for our members to determine.”
  • On women leading trade unions: “It will present a different image of the trade union movement, without a doubt.”

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