Labour have "significant mountain to climb" despite Keir Starmer's approval rating

28 June 2020, 13:10

By Seán Hickey

Polls show Sir Keir Starmer overtaking Boris Johnson as the leader people would most like as Prime Minister.

A poll put Sir Keir Starmer's approval rating at 37% while the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is at 35% in the same poll. Iain Dale was speaking to Lucy Powell, Shadow Business Minister and Labour MP for Manchester Central amid the news.

He wanted to know why Mr. Starmer is performing better than his party, after pointing out that polls don't indicate the same surge in support for the party as a whole.

"There really is a significant mountain to climb for the Labour Party in reconnecting and rebuilding trust in communities that we've historically represented" said Ms Powell.

She expressed that the party as a whole needs "to listen to voters, to reconnect with voters and offer that positive vision for the future" and moreover, present the people with a "really positive ambitious agenda for the country."

Iain wondered what Sir Keir has that previous Labour leaders hadn't. Ms Powell argued that the coronavirus crisis has benefitted the leader's profile massively. He's shown himself to the public as "somebody who's tried to be very constructive, he's not there to make party political points for it's sake.

Sir Keir Starmer has leapfrogged the PM in approval ratings
Sir Keir Starmer has leapfrogged the PM in approval ratings. Picture: PA

"He wants the government and the country to do the right thing and he has offered his support where necessary and that has been very reassuring for the public." The shadow business minister said.

She reminded Iain that "we hadn't long been out of government ourselves" when Ed Miliband was leader of the party and so "were unable to challenge and change around the deficit and the deficit reduction" at the time in an effective way.

Ms Powell fast forwarded to the Jeremy Corbyn era to reflect on his policies that gained him support in the 2017 election. "In 2017 that was particularly appealing and mobilised lots of young voters, but in 2019 it was seen as undeliverable." She argued that Sir Keir has learned from previous leaders to effectively shape his agenda going forward.

"Keir will learn the good and the bad from all of Labour's recent election defeats and successes going further back and he will shape that into his agenda going forward.

"I'm sure that's something he's very capable of doing." Said Ms Powell.

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