£28 billion U-turn: Almost 30% of our readers say Starmer right to ditch pledge

Tom Belger
© Ink Drop/Shutterstock.com

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s confirmation that the party’s £28 billion green spending target is being “stood down” prompted a wave of criticism on Thursday.

LabourList asked readers of our daily email briefing a simple question shortly after the party’s announcement: ‘Is Labour right to ditch the £28 billion green spending figure?’

More than 1,100 readers had responded within an hour on Thursday night (and you can still vote here). A clear majority of around 68% answered “no”, voicing their disapproval at the party’s retreat, for all the party emphasises that it remains committed to its Green Prosperity Plan policies.

Yet for all the media coverage (including ours) of the internal Labour backlash, almost 30% notably said they supported the party leadership’s latest decision. The party has blamed it on the Tories for “crashing the economy” and raising borrowing costs.

“Don’t know” was filled in by only 2.7% of readers who responded, or around one in 40.

As the leading dedicated Labour news site with readers across the party, LabourList hopes the poll may give some clues about member sentiment on the major announcement – but it should still be handled with some caution.

LabourList is not suggesting this is a scientific poll that provides an exact representation of the views of all party members at large. While many members read our daily email, anyone can subscribe to it, and anyone can fill in the poll, member or not.

Hundreds of readers have shared their comments, illustrating the strength of feeling on the issue. Here are a handful of examples:

Why some readers oppose the U-turn…

  • “The party must give hope to the electorate. They must educate the public on the importance of investing in the green future. They are simply running away from the Tories rather than taking the high ground.”
  • “Dreadful. Makes him look uncommitted and indecisive. Too important to drop. Makes Ed Miliband and others look stupid. Makes me feel like voting Green.”
  • “Climate change is approaching climate catastrophe. We cannot afford not to save the planet.
  • “This is crass stupidity that may well result in me leaving the Labour Party.”

Why some readers support the U-turn…

  • “We should be ambitious but not unrealistic – if the money isn’t there we shouldn’t lie to the public.”
  • “We won’t be able to spend a penny on green investment if we don’t get into government.”
  • “It will shut the Tories up.”
  • “Would be wrong to jettson the policy, but right to jettison the figure – though should have waited till after the Budget and blamed the Tories.”

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