'Keir Starmer will be seen as the saviour of the Labour Party', says Alan Johnson

30 June 2022, 20:05 | Updated: 30 June 2022, 20:09

Alan Johnson: Starmer could be seen as 'saviour of the Labour Party'

By Megan Hinton

A former Shadow Chancellor has said Keir Starmer could be remembered in history as being "the saviour of Labour" as he rejected the idea the party leader "lacked charisma".

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Alan Johnson, who held five ministerial positions under the governments of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, defended Sir Keir's ruling of the party, claiming he has made a "miraculous achievement".

"I think Keir Starmer may well be seen, historically, as the saviour of the Labour party because I thought we were dead in the water after 2019," Mr Johnson said on Thursday's Tonight with Andrew Marr.

"After that terrible result, we lost Bishop Auckland for God's sakes, I mean I can give you a list of the seats that we lost and you know, the party had been taken over by the far left.

Read more: Boris refuses to rule out calling an early general election three times

Alan Johnson said said Keir Starmer will be remembered in history as being "the saviour of Labour"
Alan Johnson said said Keir Starmer will be remembered in history as being "the saviour of Labour". Picture: Alamy

"The far left have always been trying to take over the party and they're perfectly entitled to stand on their own platform but not on ours.

"And it looked like we would become some kind of cuckoo's nest and Keir was sane enough and rational enough to want to do this god-awful position as leader of the opposition.

"And he has come in and he has got our party back. He was 27 points behind in the opinion polls, now he's 10 points in front and for kind of two years of the time he has been there nothing much was happening because it was Covid.

"And you hear voices saying 'oh it should be 20 points, it should be 30 points'... that is a miraculous achievement."

Today Sir Tony Blair has suggested the Labour Party should listen to his advice on policy if it wants to "seal the deal" at the next general election.

The former Labour Prime Minister, who acknowledged that he was not currently popular amid all sections of the party, said he believed that Labour under Sir Keir Starmer could win the next election.

Read more: Boris faces fresh backbench threat as three Tory MPs 'open talks to defect to Labour'

But, addressing a receptive crowd at the Future Of Britain conference in central London partly organised by his own institute, he also warned that success on polling day was not determined by arithmetic but a clear policy agenda.

In a wide-ranging discussion with Jon Sopel, Sir Tony was also clear that his advice was not exclusively for Labour but instead for any progressive politician or party.

"I want to build a strong policy agenda and then it is there for reasonable people, whether they are Conservative Party, Labour Party, Lib Dems, whatever, to take it up and at least you get people debating how to change the country in a way that bears some resemblance to the reality of the challenge we face."

"Sometimes politics isn't about just going with the flow, it is about resisting it as well," he told the conference.

He rejected the suggestion, in the face of the rise of the far-left and the far-right in France, that voters did not want so-called "centrist" politics anymore.

Read more: Hard to say Tories deserve to win snap general election now, says Conservative MP

Mandelson: "Labour must have clear manifesto to win"

He admitted that while a lot of people might hate centrist politics, he said that there was no point in politics if you did not stand up for your beliefs.

"It is a fight. There is going to be a big struggle," he admitted.

Referencing the victory of Joe Biden in the US in 2020, he said: "Does that mean the fight is over? No. But it means it is not a hopeless fight."

A persistent critic of Jeremy Corbyn, he said that Sir Keir had done an "amazing" job to reform the party, quipping that he had only had to follow on from former leaders Neil Kinnock and John Smith.

"For Labour to win the next election, it has got to have a policy agenda, that is absolutely clear."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Breaking
Rene Graham was killed on Sunday July 21

Teen victim of west London park shooting named and pictured for the first time

Kamala Harris has praised Joe Biden

Kamala Harris pays tribute to 'unmatched' legacy of Joe Biden in first speech since he pulled out of election

Police said they attended the residence at Wexford Road, Coventry at around 12.15pm on Monday following an emergency 999 call

Woman in her 30s killed after being mauled by pet dog at home in Coventry

Secret Service boss Kimberly Cheatle denied claims she failed to provide Trump with adequate protection.

'We failed': Secret service boss brands Donald Trump shooting 'most significant failure in decades'

One of Britain's oldest cricket clubs bans players from hitting sixes after neighbours complain of damaged property

One of Britain's oldest cricket clubs bans players from hitting sixes after neighbours complain of damaged property

Anand Runwal jumped in front of the train to try to save his children

Pictured: Hero father who jumped in front of train to try to save his twin daughters, whose pushchair rolled onto tracks

The moment a sexual predator lured a 14-year-old schoolgirl to a guesthouse where he later raped her has been caught on camera.

Chilling footage captures sex predator luring schoolgirl, 14, to guesthouse before raping her after plying teen with alcohol

Migrants heading to Britain. Home Secretary Yvette cooper today revealed the scheme cost £700m and saw only four volunteers sent to Africa

Rwanda deportation scheme cost £700m and saw just four volunteers sent to Africa, Home Secretary reveals

Piccadilly line to partially close for 16 days in August causing major disruption for commuters and Arsenal fans

Piccadilly line to partially close for 16 days in August causing major disruption for commuters and Arsenal fans

Strictly pro dancer Janette Manrara breaks her silence following claims by former contestant Will Bayley

Strictly dancer Janette Manrara breaks silence following contestant's 'life-changing' injury claims

President of Croatia Zoran Milanović described the attack as a "savage unprecedented crime".

Several killed as gunman opens fire in Croatian care home

A boy was pronounced dead at the scene in Ladbroke Grove

Gunman 'jumped from bushes to assassinate 15-year-old boy' on 'family fun day' at west London park

Search for murdered Muriel McKay's remains called off by police after 'unsuccessful' farm dig

Search for murdered Muriel McKay's remains called off by police after 'unsuccessful' farm dig

Nuclear submariner Marcus Gauntlett is under investigation

Royal Navy sailor accused of stealing secrets from nuclear submarine after 'documents found on phone'

Alex Dancyg and Yagev Buchshtab died while being held in Gaza.

Israel confirms deaths of two hostages in Gaza ahead of ceasefire talks

BRITAIN-AVIATION-AIRSHOW

Labour could scrap two child benefit cap, Keir Starmer suggests ahead of backbench rebellion