Starmer: Jeremy Corbyn would have been a better PM than Boris Johnson

The Labour leader made the remark on BBC Question TIme


Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn in 2019 (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer admitted last night that he thought Jeremy Corbyn would have made a better Prime Minister than Boris Johnson.

Appearing on the BBC’s Question Time Leaders’ Special, Starmer was pressed by host Fiona Bruce over comments he made in February 2019 that he thought Corbyn would make a “great” Prime Minister. She asked him if that was a sincerely held belief or whether Sir Keir had his “fingers crossed behind his back”?

Starmer, who served as Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow Brexit secretary for nearly four years, tried to sidestep Bruce’s questioning and claimed that he didn’t think Labour would win the 2019 general election. He went on to say that he campaigned for the Labour Party and for his parliamentary colleagues to be re-elected.

Challenged to answer whether he thought Jeremy Corbyn would have been a good Prime Minister “yes or no,” the Labour leader countered that Corbyn would have been better than Boris Johnson, who Starmer said “made massive promises” and then had to leave Parliament “in disgrace”.

Sir Craig Oliver, former Downing Street head of communications under David Cameron posted on X that it was “extraordinary” that Starmer’s team “still hasn’t come up with a better answer to: Why did you say Jeremy Corbyn would make a great PM? They seem to think it was ok to mislead people because he didn’t think Corbyn would win.”

Jeremy Corbyn, who served as Labour leader between 2015-2020 led his party to their biggest electoral defeat since the 1930s at the 2019 general election. Boris Johnson returned to Downing Street with the biggest Conservative majority since 1987.

Under Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party was investigated by Britain’s equalities watchdog, the Equality and Human Right’s Commission (EHRC) because of concerns over antisemitism within the party. Jewish MPs Luciana Berger quit the Labour Party in February 2019 and claimed it was “institutionally antisemitic”.

Sir Keir Starmer succeeded Corbyn as Labour leader in April 2020. In his victory speech he apologised to the Jewish community and promised to tear out the “poison” of antisemitism from within his party.

In October 2020, the EHRC’s report into antisemitism in Labour found it “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.” Starmer called this a “day of shame”, accepted the EHRC’s findings and said the party would implement its recommendations.

By contrast, Corbyn refused to accept the report’s findings and said in a Facebook post that antisemitism in Labour was “dramatically overstated” for political reasons by his rivals and the media.

He had the Labour whip removed and sat in Parliament as an independent since October 2020. Corbyn was barred from standing as for Labour at the upcoming general election and will contest Islington North as an independent candidate.


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