Starmer accuses Nigel Farage of ‘pantomime politics’ as he launches Labour manifesto

13 June 2024, 13:17

Keir Starmer has accused Nigel Farage of 'pantomime politics'.
Keir Starmer has accused Nigel Farage of 'pantomime politics'. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

Keir Starmer has taken aim at Nigel Farage as he accused the Reform UK leader of “pantomime politics”.

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Speaking at the Labour manifesto launch on Thursday, Sir Keir said that some people may be asking “where's the surprise, where's the rabbit out of the hat?”

And in a seeming dig at Nigel Farage, he continued: “If you want politics as pantomime, I hear Clacton is nice this time of year.”

Nigel Farage is a candidate in the seaside constituency for Reform UK.

Sir Keir said “Britain needs stability and not chaos” as he called for an “end to the desperate era of gestures and gimmicks”.

The Labour party launched its manifesto on Thursday, as Sir Keir vowed to put “wealth creation” at its heart with a focus on economic growth.

Speaking on economic reform and public services, Sir Keir said that the government “cannot play fast and loose with the public finances” as he said his party would make choices that are “fully funded and fully costed”.

He called the manifesto "a rejection of cynicism", and a "plan for growth" as he vowed to "rebuild our country."

Keir Starmer launched the Labour manifesto on Thursday.
Keir Starmer launched the Labour manifesto on Thursday. Picture: Alamy

Read more: Labour plans £8bn tax raid on nom-doms, private schools and energy giants, as Starmer heckled in manifesto launch

Read more: General Election LIVE: Labour manifesto to put "wealth creation" at its heart with focus on economic growth

Sir Keir unveiled pledges on the NHS, the economy, taxes and immigration, among other sectors in the Labour manifesto.

It includes pledges to create 40,000 more NHS appointments a week, introduce VAT on private school fees, create a new Border Security Command to prosecute small boat gangs and nationalise railways.

Labour said they would raise the extra £8.6 billion in tax receipts by 2028-29.

The Labour leader was heckled by a climate protester as he spoke - and responded that Labour "gave up on being a party of protest five years ago in favour of being "a party in power."

Sir Keir’s dig at the Reform UK leader comes after Mr Farage joined LBC on Thursday morning.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Mr Farage was confronted on air with a series of questions about individuals standing for Reform UK after LBC exposed one who said ‘Islam and Nazis are the same thing’ during a public rant in 2017.

Mr Farage said it was ‘utter cobblers’ that Reform UK candidates had voiced ’Nazi sympathies’ as he took calls from listeners.

Nigel Farage: "We need a coherent voice of opposition"

One individual standing for Reform UK described the pandemic as a ‘health holocaust’ and another said vaccine firms were like ‘Nazi armament companies.”

Mr Farage dismissed the remarks, saying: “People chuck stuff around on Facebook and they like comments.”

On keeping the candidates in the party, he said: “I can disown them but I can’t deselect them.”

Nick Ferrari confronted Mr Farage after LBC unearthed comments made by Reform UK candidate Steve Chilcott, who said ‘Islam and Nazis are the same thing’ during a public 2017 rant.

Earlier this week the Times reported on a Reform UK candidate who said Britain should have been ‘neutral on Hitler’.

Ian Gribbin also praised President Putin and said women should be denied healthcare.

The party has stood by him, but Gribbin later apologised saying his comments had been “taken out of context.”

Mr Farage also told Nick he would lead a 'centre-right' party and could stand against Labour, blaming David Cameron and George Osborne for turning the Tories into a "socialist democrat" party.

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