Labour's left-wing are causing rift by not supporting Keir Starmer, says former deputy leader

27 June 2020, 11:28 | Updated: 28 June 2020, 08:18

By Seán Hickey

A senior Labour MP attacked the left of the party for not supporting Sir Keir Starmer since he took over as leader.

Dame Margaret Beckett was once Labour Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and she was speaking to Matt Frei following the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey during the week for Anti-Semitism.

Criticisms of the decision of Sir Keir Starmer have come from within the Labour Party and has threatened to divide the party. Matt asked the MP if this saga will "reopen the rift within the Labour Party between the centre left and the left."

Dame Margaret argued that "if Keir had havered...it probably would have made things worse with the Jewish community" and she insisted that it was the right decision for him to fire Ms Long-Bailey.

The Labour MP showed the leader to be a man of his word as "he has given this issue the priority he said he would give it" and making such big decisions as to fire a senior shadow cabinet member show strength in Labour's leadership.

Dame Margaret called out members of the left of the party who "have not agreed with or supported a single thing that Keir has done from the moment he became leader of the party."

She admitted to Matt that "there is a rift to some extent, and the rift is theirs. they are behaving in a totally opposite positional way and then complaining."

Dame Margaret accused members of Labour's left of not supporting Keir Starmer
Dame Margaret accused members of Labour's left of not supporting Keir Starmer. Picture: PA

"There is no need for a rift in the Labour Party" Dame Margaret said and accused members of the left of the Labour Party of causing an issue because they haven't gotten their own way. She said that the party are aiming to "try to run this country better than the shambles we see at the moment" and this cannot happen if there's not unity.

"Some people seem to be more concerned with their own internal fights and their own internal power than they are with the British people that they claim to represent and who we all want to represent better."

Dame Margaret supported the decision of Sir Keir Starmer, arguing that Ms Long-Bailey has a responsibility to represent the whole party as a front bench MP.

"It is the reputation of the Labour Party that is in your hands, you don't have the freedom to do and say exactly what you like. If you want that freedom, don't go on the front bench." Said Dame Margaret.

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