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LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer has been condemned for his praise of Margaret Thatcher.
In an article for the Sunday Telegraph — regarded as a barometer of Tory opinion — Sir Keir named Labour predecessors Clement Attlee and Tony Blair alongside the former Tory prime minister as people who had delivered “meaningful change” in Britain.
Already under fire for his refusal to back a ceasefire in Gaza, the Labour leader went on to eulogise Ms Thatcher for her work to “drag Britain out of its stupor by setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism.”
His comments, aimed at reaching out to Tory-voting readers, have infuriated grassroots Labour party members and trade unionists alike, while the SNP went on the attack.
Writing on Twitter, Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “What Thatcher did to mining and industrial communities was not ‘entrepreneurialism,’ it was vandalism.”
SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn challenged Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar to disown Sir Keir’s remarks.
He said: “The question is now whether Labour in Scotland will stand by these despicable comments and stand shoulder to shoulder with Starmer just as they did on Gaza — or will they finally speak up for Scotland."
UCU union general secretary Jo Grady also took to Twitter to say: “Thatcher brought meaningful change?
“Destroying whole communities, privatising our major assets, creating a culture of individualism, blacklisting workers, targeting trade unionists, vilifying football supporters, starting the wealth divide. Embarrassing from Starmer.”
Momentum branded Sir Keir’s remarks “a shift to the right and a failure of Labour values.”
The grassroots group tweeted: “Margaret Thatcher laid waste to working-class communities, privatised our public service, and set in train the destruction of the post-war settlement founded by Labour.
“Starmer’s praise of her isn’t smart politics.”
Former Scottish Labour MSP and leadership contender Neil Findlay was damning of Sir Keir’s return to the Blairite strategy of tacking right and assuming the left had nowhere to go.
He told the Star: “Keir Starmer has just given working-class voters another reason to stay at home instead of voting Labour on polling day.
“In areas like mine, Thatcher’s legacy was 26 per cent unemployment, mass redundancy, industrial closures and a feeling that there was no future for my generation.
“For him to eulogise someone who inflicted so much pain on our communities sickens me to the pit of my stomach. He is an impostor and a fraud.”
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