'Grotesque chaos'

Starmer recalls Kinnock speech in Truss attack

Sir Keir Starmer: Tories no longer have a mandate

Sir Keir Starmer today recalled a famous speech by one of his predecessors to pour more scorn on Prime Minister Liz Truss’s first month in Downing Street.

The Labour leader, speaking in Yorkshire, pointed to comments at the 1985 party conference by Neil Kinnock who said: “You can’t play politics with people’s jobs, with people’s services or with their homes.”

Paraphrasing Mr Kinnock’s famous attack on Labour’s Militant wing in Liverpool, he referred to the “grotesque chaos of a Tory Prime Minister handing out redundancy notices to her own Chancellor”.

Sir Keir said: “Britain has faced financial crises before. But the Prime Ministers and Chancellors who wrestled with them all acted fast. When their policies ran against the rocks of reality, they took decisive action.

“But this lot, they didn’t just tank the British economy. They also clung on. Clung on as they made the pound sink, clung on as they took our pensions to the brink of collapse, clung on as they pushed the mortgages and bills of the British people through the roof.  

“All of the pain our country faces now is down to them. And there’s still one person clinging on. The Prime Minister. No doubt we will hear plenty of laughable excuses in the coming days.

“After twelve years of stagnation, that’s all her party has left. But even they know she can’t fix the mess she’s created. And deep-down, her MPs know something else. They no longer have a mandate from the British people.”

Ms Truss’s government is also under fire from business, with Asda chairman Lord Rose saying the “current situation is completely untenable and cannot be sustained. In my view the Prime Minister is now a busted flush.”

In his 1985 speech, Neil Kinnock attacked the far-left faction which was seen to be damaging the party’s hopes of toppling Tory leader Margaret Thatcher.

He accused those marshalled by Liverpool City Council’s deputy leader Derek Hatton of making impossible promises. 

“You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that,” said Kinnock.

“Outdated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs.

“And you end in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council – a Labour council – hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers.”

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