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SIR KEIR STARMER has come under fire from the left after announcing his plan to turn his back on Corbynism and its manifestos in order to put forward a new blueprint for power.
The Labour leader has been warned that the party’s poll ratings could fall even further with him at the helm if he goes ahead with plans to abandon policies set out in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos.
The criticism comes after Sir Keir told a centrist think-tank conference on Sunday that the party’s policy review would not take previous manifestos as its starting point — including the radical and popular policy plans outlined by Mr Corbyn.
During his leadership campaign Mr Starmer promised close continuity with the 2017 and 2019 manifestos.
Labour MP Richard Burgon posted on social media: “He has no mandate at all to break those pledges or scrap those manifesto policies.”
Speaking at the online meeting of Progressive Britain — a merger of Progress and the Peter Mandelson-run Policy Network — Sir Keir said Labour should not take lessons from its former leaders.
Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said she was in favour of updating policies in light of the coronavirus crisis, adding: “Our manifestos under Jeremy Corbyn were hugely popular with the public. That is why the scurrilous attacks were on him personally. Our policies were a strong point and remain so.
“But junking these popular policies altogether will only see the poll ratings fall even further.”
The involvement of Mr Mandelson has also come under scrutiny, with concerns raised about his current influence over the leader and his team.
At Sunday’s conference, Mr Mandelson claimed Labour could “progress if we heard a little less from Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell on what Labour needs to do to win elections and listened a little more to people who actually won elections.”
Labour MP Ian Lavery said: “Nobody expected the next manifesto to be a carbon copy of the two previous ones, but it is disappointing to hear that the leader of the party is no longer committed to building upon the manifestos, despite his pledge last year to do so.
“Perhaps more concerning is the deep influence Peter Mandelson now seems to have over Keir Starmer and his team, and how his input has led to Starmer turning his back on the Corbyn era completely, breaking his promise [made] during his leadership bid as a result.”
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