Sir Keir Starmer calls Boris "worst possible leader"
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Speaking about the Prime Minister’s claim to have had no knowledge of the Downing Street “Christmas parties”, Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson was “socially distanced from the truth”. Sir Keir also praised his party’s recent surge in the polls, boasting that Labour is “now ahead”.
A poll conducted by Ipsos MORI earlier in December put Sir Keir Starmer 13 points ahead of Boris Johnson in a poll which asked respondents who they would prefer as Prime Minister.
In an interview with Times Radio, the leader of the opposition was asked if he agreed with MP Dawn Butler – who was previously removed from the Commons chamber for calling the Prime Minister a liar.
He responded: “Well, yeah, I’ve said he’s socially distanced from the truth is the way I put it in the chamber because you’re not allowed to call the Prime Minister a liar.”
When asked if he thinks the Prime Minister is a liar, he replied: “I think he’s dishonest – yes.
“When he stands up and says he’s furious he’s just found out there had been parties in Downing Street, I don’t think many people believe him.
“I certainly don’t.”
He also claimed that the Tories’ own actions were starting to “expose the government for what it really is”.
This came after Boris Johnson said he was “furious” to see footage of former Downing Street spokesperson Allegra Stratton and other senior staffers joking about a Christmas Party in Downing Street while the rest of the country was in lockdown last year.
Mr Starmer also spoke optimistically about the recent polling.
He said: “When I took over as leader of the Labour Party, we were something like 25 points behind the Conservative government. We are now ahead.
“Now I’m not so naive as to think it all ends merrily ever after, of course there’ll be wobbles, there’ll be turbulence along the way.
“But to have closed the gap from minus 25 to being ahead of the government in under two years, after the worst defeat in 2019, I think shows a bit of politics.”
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Despite admitting that “there’s no route to Labour in government that doesn’t run through Scotland”, Sir Keir denied that the Labour party would be entering into pacts with other parties.
He said: “I don’t think we can enter formal pacts with other parties, we should be standing our own candidates.
“I do think we should have a Labour candidate that people can vote for wherever they live, and depriving them of that is not the right thing to do.
“There are also issues in relation to our rules.”
But he added: “Look, you know, given the size of the task that we face, given my utter determination that we are going to get this over the line at the next general election, I am very clear as to what our target seats are.
“I know where we need to win across the whole of the UK.
“And therefore I will focus my party on those target seats, on the places where we can win and we know we have to win.”
“If you take North Shropshire – that isn’t on my list of target seats, that is not one of the seats I ever thought we can realistically win.
“Chesham & Amersham, North Shropshire are not on my list of target seats. Am I pleased to see the Tories upended there? Yes, I am.”
The Tories lost a December by-election in North Shropshire to the Liberal Democrats, after holding the seat for more than 200 years.
Winner Helen Morgan overturned a Tory majority of almost 23,000, declaring that the Conservative “party is over”.
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