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ITV’s political editor Robert Peston hit out at Sir Keir Starmer to failing to name a single party policy during a heated interview last night. Peston quizzed Sir Keir on the absence of any new party policies during this week’s party leader conference speech. He asked the Labour leader three times to name a single policy developed during his leadership – and was rebuffed each time in response.
The Labour Party’s annual conference this week was held in a digital format after social distancing measures ended any hopes of an in-person event.
In his opening conference remarks, Sir Keir appealed to former Labour voters who abandoned the party at the 2019 general election but he did not offer up any policies.
Peston pointed out to Sir Keir that he “didn’t detect any policies in the conference speech”.
The Labour leader said that his movement laid out a patriotic vision for the country, saying: “We love this country, that’s why we’re in it, that’s why we knock on doors.”
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Peston rebuked: “I’m not saying that’s a bad thing but I’m sure people would have expected the red meat on some policy announcements.”
Sir Keir said: “I’m not setting out detailed policy for four years time. This is about values and rebuilding trust with those who used to vote Labour. Nobody is asking for detailed policy.”
Peston hit back at this claim, saying in fact people did want policy announcements.
The ITV political editor said: “No, I think people would like to know what a Keir Starmer policy is. Give us one Keir Stamer policy.”
The Labour leader repeated a line from his conference speech, where he said he wanted Britain to become “the best place to grow up in and the best place to grow old in”.
Peston pointed out that that this was “an aspiration, not a policy,” adding: “When are you going to give us a policy?”
Sir Keir said: “We’re not going to get into policy four years before the election in the middle of a pandemic when we don’t quite know what’s going to happen to our economy in the next 12 months.”
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During a tense interview, Sir Keir also refused to say whether he thinks Boris Johnson’s new coronavirus rules should have gone further.
He simply said: “We’ll wait and see, we agreed with the prime minister, we support the measures he’s put in place.”
This comes after Professor John Edmunds, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said the new measures have not “gone anywhere near far enough”.
He also refused to rule out the possibility of supporting a second referendum on Scottish independence in the long term.
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