Good morning. Sir Keir Starmer took a risk earlier this week when he announced plans for significant changes to Labour’s internal rules (covering leadership elections, and other matters) that infuriated the left. Yesterday he discovered that the major unions that fund Labour are not yet backing him, and now he is under pressure to shelve the vote on the proposals planned for the party conference. Here is my colleague Jessica Elgot’s overnight story.
This morning Starmer suffered a further setback when Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, one of the most powerful figures in the party outside Westminster and someone not associated with the Labour left, refused to back the plans. In an interview on the Today programme he was asked three times if he supported what Starmer was doing, and each time he refused to back the leader. The first time he was asked if he agreed with the proposed changes, Khan replied:
I’ve got to be frank; as the mayor of London, internal party rules isn’t at the fore of my mind. I haven’t had a chance to look into the changes being considered.
When it was put to him that it sounded as if he wanted to keep the current leadership election rules, he replied:
I’ve been going to Labour conference every year since I was a boy, and there are always changes in our rules at conference because our conference is the sovereign decision-making body.
And when he was given a third chance to say he supported Starmer on this, he replied:
Well, it’s not at the fore of my mind as mayor. What’s at the fore of my mind is taking bold action to address the twin challenges of air pollution and climate change.
Last night Starmer published a 12,000 word essay setting out his vision for the party. You can read it here, and here is our story about it.
Initial reaction suggests readers have been underwhelmed, but most people will not have had a chance to look at it properly yet. I will post proper reaction and analysis as the day goes on.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS publishes annual life expectancy figures.
9.30am: Stephen Barclay, the new Cabinet Office minister, takes questions in the Commons
11.30am: Downing Street holds its daily lobby briefing.
12pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minster, takes questions in the Scottish parliament.
For the latest Covid developments, do read our global live blog.
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