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‘Unity’ candidate Starmer accused of turning blind eye to conflict on his own patch

KEIR STARMER’s claim to be the “unity” Labour leadership candidate “rings hollow” as he has done “absolutely nothing” to condemn factionalism in his constituency Labour party (CLP), members said today.

The shadow Brexit secretary has sought to succeed Jeremy Corbyn by presenting himself as the only candidate who can heal rifts in the party.

But about 30 members of his Holborn and St Pancras CLP say that he has turned a blind eye to conflict on his own patch.

Unite delegate to the CLP general and executive committees Sarah Friday told the Morning Star: “Keir Starmer attends general committee meetings and sees all the arguments but never references them in his speeches. He pretends that they don’t happen.

“If he had said something, it would resonate with people at the meetings. But he’s never done that.”

Ms Friday also said that Mr Starmer is surrounded by a team which is “firmly on the right of the party.”

Relations between Camden councillors were so strained, she said, that mediators were brought in at the end of last year.

About 28 other CLP members said that they are “aggrieved that [Mr Starmer] has the cheek to say he wants to build party unity and to end factionalism when he has stood back and let this run rife within his own backyard.”

The socialists and trade-union members signed a statement saying that many of them had backed him to replace the “long-serving, well-respected and wonderful constituency MP, the late Frank Dobson,” but that they are disappointed to have not seen evidence of his ability to achieve unity.

The statement continues: “Time and time again, as left-leaning members, we have been subjected to hostility and abuse — a symptom of the chronic factionalism in our CLP.

“Those that are close to Keir Starmer, rather than welcome involvement from the left, have actively prevented it.

“Our efforts and attempts to work together have been met with obstruction and aggression and we have been blocked by an entitled and embittered right-wing slate that has prevented any involvement in the CLP’s officers group.

“Claiming to be the unity candidate should be more than a catchy campaign slogan. We are gravely concerned that, under a Starmer leadership, socialists in the party will be treated like we have.”

In defence of Mr Starmer, Gospel Oak councillor Jenny Mulholland said that he has “frequently called for unity in meetings.”

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