Sir Keir Starmer was elected Labour Party leader at the start of this month, replacing Jeremy Corbyn, who oversaw a crushing defeat for the party in December’s general election – handing the Prime Minister and his Conservative Party the huge majority required to push Brexit through Parliament. The former director of public prosecutions, a strong Remainer supporter who opposed the UK’s departure from the European Union, won with 56 percent of the vote, defeating leadership rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy. Many centrist Labour politicians hailed the result as a big move away the far left position pushed by Mr Corbyn and a sign the Tory Government could be challenged over the next few years.
The early signs for Sir Keir were encouraging, with Mr Johnson congratulating him on Twitter and the pair agreeing on the importance of working together – particularly in the joint effort to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.
But in our latest poll, Express.co.uk readers have strongly dismissed any threat the new Labour leader might pose to the Prime Minister and the current huge dominance being enjoyed by his Conservative Party.
The poll, which ran from 3pm on Monday April 13 until 9.30am on Tuesday April 14 and saw 8,736 votes cast, asked: “Should Boris Johnson be worried about Keir Starmer in opposition?”
Express.co.uk readers overwhelmingly rejected any possibility of this from happening, with 85.7 percent (7,490 readers) believing the new Labour leader poses absolutely no threat to the Prime Minister.
Just 12.9 percent (1,130 readers) said Sir Keir could worry the Prime Minister as new Labour leader, while the remaining 1.4 percent (116 readers) voted “don’t know”.
The poll saw Express.co.uk readers launch a savage attack on Sir Keir, branding him a “Corbyn tribute act”, and claiming the heavily-left foundations of the party will not change under his leadership.
One person said: “Starmer had the opportunity to move the party back towards the centre ground. It meant sticking the finger up to Momentum and McCluskey.
“His choice of approach and his Shadow Cabinet shows he has not moved the ground much, but Momentum don’t trust him.
“In fact, his entire Shadow Cabinet is one of total Remainers. The electorate will see through that, and I expect a motion/policy to re-join the EU will not be long in coming.
“Boris need not fear a Corbyn tribute act.”
A second reader commented: “To be a viable threat you have to have a viable alternative set of policies that are popular with the electorate. Starmer has neither of these options, consequently he is not a threat.”
Another person said: “Starmer will still have Momentum sitting on his shoulder and directing the agenda as they will still control Labours NEC, so nothing will change until Momentum are kicked out.”
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Others are furious Sir Keir is still pushing the Remain agenda that heavily dominated Mr Corbyn’s reign as Labour leader, and vowed never to vote for him as long as this is still the case.
One reader wrote: “The first thing Starmer did upon getting his hands on the Labour leadership was to start his antics again. Remoaning and carrying on.”
A second person commented: “Starmer is a mealy-mouthed leftist Remainer. I will never vote for him.”
Another reader said: “The second he opened his mouth on his maiden speech and bashed Brexit, his future was sealed.”
Labour, which had several years of electorate success under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, endured its worst election result since 1935 in December.
Voters turned against the party following months of infighting over strategy, a confusing Brexit position and allegations of unchecked anti-Semitism.
The opposition lost several of its traditional heartlands, some of which had been dominated by Labour for dozens of years, in what proved to be the ultimate humiliation for Mr Corbyn, who eventually announced his decision to step down.
The election result was all the more humiliating as Boris Johnson had only been Prime Minister for five months after replacing Theresa May in July.
Former Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir replaced the defeated Mr Corbyn following a lengthy three-month leadership contest, and immediately acknowledged the scale of the task ahead.
He said: “This is my pledge to the British people. I will do my utmost to guide us through these difficult times, to serve all of our communities and to strive for the good of our country.
“I will lead this great party into a new era, with confidence and with hope.”
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