Jerermy Corbyn ally praises Keir Starmer for ‘taking this government on’ over coronavirus response

PUBLISHED: 09:39 21 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:54 21 August 2020

(left to right) Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell leaving the Cabinet Office in Westminster, London; Kirsty O'Connor

(left to right) Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell leaving the Cabinet Office in Westminster, London; Kirsty O'Connor

PA Archive/PA Images

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said praised Labour’s Keir Starmer’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as being “exactly right”.

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only continue to grow with your support.

McDonnell said the Labour leader had approached the government in a “constructive way” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the government had adopted several policies put forward by Labour in order to tackle the crisis as a result.

Speaking to John Pienaar on Times Radio, McDonnell said: “Keir’s got this exactly right.

“He’s approached the government in a constructive way - and we’ve got to get through this crisis together - but he can’t help but point out failure after failure. And people are getting pretty angry.

“He’s taking this government on. What’s interesting is the government itself has had to adopt many of the policies - not just the ones we advocated for in the last general election, the investment etcetera - but also the policies that we put to them in March to cope with this Covid crisis.

“The furlough scheme was our proposal, the support for small businesses, the self-employed - our proposals. I think he’s gaining the benefit of that.

“Of course with a new leader, the media will give you a much wider leeway to a large extent and of course he’s exploiting that, good for him.”

McDonnell also said that Sir Keir does believe in genuine left-wing principles.

MORE: Just 6% of Labour supporters disapprove of Keir Starmer’s leadership, polling finds

He said: “Keir has made it clear he’s a socialist. His expressions in the past and throughout - of course he’s a socialist.”

The Labour MP added: “Sometimes I’ll want the party to be a bit more vociferous on some of these things but it’s a matter of style.

“As long as we get the point across.”

McDonnell is one of the first to heap praise on the new Labour leader from the Left of the party which has been hostile towards Sir Keir.

Earlier this week, former party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Boris Johnson “didn’t want to introduce the furlough scheme” in a meeting between the two shortly after the coronavirus outbreak.

He also said he was briefed on herd immunity by government officials in the early days of the pandemic.

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £20

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest pro-European campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.