Keir Starmer tells Labor to plan succession if leader is forced to quit

Labor leader Keir Starmer has reportedly urged moderate frontbenchers not to “let Labor go haywire again” as the party prepares for the Durham Police response

Union leader Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer has reportedly urged Labor frontbenchers to prepare leadership campaigns if he is forced to resign over Beergate.

The Labor leader told Wes Streeting and Lisa Nandy, two leaders who were set to replace him, to prepare bids for the top job, according to a Sunday Times report.

According to the newspaper, he has told moderates within the party that they must make plans to lead and sustain his post-Jeremy Corbyn reforms of the party.

It comes after he and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, who have both said they will resign if they are found to have broken lockdown rules, returned their questionnaires to Durham Police on Friday.

The force resumed their investigation into whether the two politicians broke rules while in the area while campaigning for the Hartlepool by-election.

A friend of Mr Starmer said the leader reportedly said to colleagues: “I will not allow this party to become a lost cause again.

“I will not allow our hard-won gains to go to waste, so we need to be prepared for the off chance that the worst happens.”

However, Ms Nandy denied that the reports were accurate.

She told Times Radio it was “not true at all.” Mr. Starmer has reached out to colleagues and denied that she held fundraisers and recruited a team.

Asked if Mr Starmer had told her to prepare an offer of leadership, she said: “Never, and if he did he would come up short because he and I and the rest of the Labor team have been dealing with it for the past few weeks spent talking tirelessly about the problems people are facing in this country – rising inflation, the cost of living crisis, people struggling to make ends meet and the looming chaos on the rails, the bus problems and the airport problems as well to tackle

“We are trying to find ways to resolve this, to put pressure on the government and how things can be different. We are very, very aware of how much responsibility we don’t have. It’s time to talk about internal Labor issues.”

It follows several reports of fears within workers that Mr Starmer will fail to win a general election and will be seen as “boring” by voters.

However, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown jumped to the Labor leader’s defense, saying Mr Starmer should “ignore” the criticism “because the exciting thing about the possibility of Keir Starmer leading is that he will have a plan for Britain”.

He told the BBC: “He will show how we can regain growth.

“It will show how we can raise the standard of living again. And it will show how we can have a fairer society that deals with problems like climate change.”

He added: “He has been a great civil servant for many years and I think he will make a great Prime Minister.”

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