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Jeremy Corbyn reviews Sir Keir Starmer's first year as Labour leader on LBC
21 April 2021, 21:13 | Updated: 21 April 2021, 21:21
Sir Keir Starmer "hasn't done enough" to challenge the Government over its response to the Covid crisis, Jeremy Corbyn tells LBC.
The former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn revealed his thoughts on Sir Keir's first year leading the party during LBC's Cross Question.
He told Iain Dale: "I would like us to have been much more assertive on the coronavirus crisis because I think we haven't challenged them enough on the efficiency of the private sector Track and Trace, we haven't challenged them enough on the lack of transparency in the deals that have been done.
"It took an awful lot of pressure for Jon Ashworth and John McDonnell in the early part of 2020 to make the Government even consider a furlough scheme.
"The consequences of all this now are a serious mental health crisis, poverty and increasing rates of unemployment in the poorest parts of this country.
"We should have been much sharper at the time, there was too much inclusivity with the Government."
He continued, "It's very beguiling when you're the leader of the opposition to be invited into the big room...and it's got lots of microphones and lights and spotlights, and it's got screens and projectors and god knows what...they try to make you feel absolutely part of it - you're not."
Reflecting on the role, he told Iain Dale, "Being in the Labour Party is not an easy job. I think you have to be inclusive of all people in the party and make sure their voices are heard and make sure the democracy of the party is going to be intact - because that's the absolute lifeblood of it."
Mr Corbyn pointed out that he joined the party in 1966, has been 55 years in the party and held "every position there is" and the fundamental aspect is inclusivity.
Iain countered that Sir Keir "isn't being very inclusive" of Mr Corbyn, after he was suspended following his reaction to a report into how the party handled anti-Semitism.
Mr Corbyn responded that he is "still a member of the Labour Party" and is still an MP for Islington North but the fact he is not a member of the Parliamentary Labour party is "not his decision or wish."