Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“Work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people, tackle insecure work and low pay”

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour Leadership Candidate, Leadership Campaign Pledge #7

Facts

In Sir Keir Starmer’s 2020 Labour leadership manifesto he pledged to “Work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people, tackle insecure work and low pay”

Starmer’s official campaign video in 2020 claimed he had “dedicated his career to defending workers, trade unions and activists.” 

When a wave of strikes hit the public sector in the summer of 2022 Starmer banned shadow ministers from going on picket lines. When Shadow Rail Minister Sam Tarry defied this he was sacked – although a party spokesperson said this was for making unauthorised statements to press. 

“A government doesn’t go on picket lines, a government tries to resolve disputes” Starmer said.

Yet in November 2019, just weeks before the general election, Starmer had joined a march by McDonald’s workers who were striking for £15 an hour. 

“£15 an hour … that ought to be the norm in 21st century Britain,” he said. “It will be the norm if we have a Labour government.” 

In September 2021 Andy McDonald, Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights and Protections, resigned from the cabinet after he was asked to argue against a national minimum wage of £15. “Pledges you made to the membership are not being honoured,” he said. “This is just the latest of many.”

Verdict

The initial pledge was non-specific and it would be hard to categorise this as a straightforward lie. But Starmer’s behaviour as leader sits uncomfortably with the rhetoric he used in the months before becoming leader.  

We emailed Sir Keir Starmer’s office and Labour offering them the chance to respond. We received no response.

Published 28 Jun 2024
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