Starmer: Corbyn is coming up on the doorstep but people like our manifesto
Former DPP says he is playing a 'sweeper' role in marginal constituencies
18 May, 2017 — By Richard Osley
LABOUR’S Keir Starmer admitted today that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership was coming up on the doorstep on his home turf of Holborn and St Pancras and in marginal constituencies where he has helped out in recent days.
But he told the New Journal that Labour activists were dealing with it by doubling up canvassing and have extra conversations with voters to talk through their concerns.
“I’ve been to probably 30 constituencies now and there is a solid Labour vote, there’s no doubt about that, and people like the manifesto, broadly speaking. That’s good, they are positive about it,” he said. “It’s certainly true that Jeremy Corbyn’s name comes up on the doorsteps here, it comes up across the country. We have to put that into context because I can’t remember a general election where the leader’s name didn’t come up with strong views on it.”
He added: “The way I’ve dealt with it is to act pretty much as a sweeper, which is to go back to the doors where people have expressed concern about the leadership and have a second conversation. That helps bring some of them around. But it is one of the issues that does come up, and we are dealing with it.”
Standing on a bench outside the Rose and Crown pub, Mr Starmer gave a pep talk to Labour election teams in Torriano Avenue alongside Owen Jones, the Guardian columnist, and actor Charlie Condou, who lives locally. He is standing to be re-elected as an MP for a second time, having first claimed a seat in the House of Commons in 2015 following the long-serving Frank Dobson’s retirement.
Asked whether Labour’s famous ‘broad church’ of views was now too stretched, Mr Starmer, the former director of public prosecutions, said: “I don’t think it’s too broad, I think most people know that the manifesto is about investing in public services, seriously investing in the NHS. And as I say that is really popular and not just on the doorstep. I think the polling that the Daily Mirror did was very, very popular on that. I think people have got a sense of what Labour is about this time around. ”
Keir Starmer, Owen Jones and Charlie Condou in Kentish Town
He added: “I think there are a lot of people who are still asking why has this election being called. Quite often at election time there is a sort of electric enthusiasm, this one they are wondering why the Prime Minister called it in the first place. In that sense, a lot of the campaigning will be about getting the Labour vote out on the day.”