© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Keir Starmer, chief of Britain’s Labour Occasion, speaks in the course of the Prime Minister’s Questions, on the Home of Commons in London, Britain November 29, 2023. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout through REUTERS/File Picture
LONDON (Reuters) – Keir Starmer, chief of Britain’s principal opposition Labour Occasion, has praised former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a deeply unpopular determine amongst many Labour supporters, as he seeks to woo Conservative voters earlier than an election anticipated subsequent yr.
Starmer, whose left-wing occasion is forward of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives by some 20 factors in opinion polls, is in search of to cement that benefit by broadening Labour’s enchantment to draw voters who’ve spurned the occasion in nationwide elections over the previous 13 years.
Thatcher, dubbed the “Iron Girl” by the UK press on the time, was Britain’s Conservative chief from 1979 to 1990. She was an especially divisive determine, hailed by some however loathed by many on the left for crushing commerce unions and privatizing swathes of British business. She died in 2013.
“Each second of significant change in fashionable British politics begins with the realisation that politics should act in service of the British individuals, quite than dictating to them,” Starmer wrote in an article for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
“Margaret Thatcher sought to tug Britain out of its stupor by setting unfastened our pure entrepreneurialism,” he wrote, whereas additionally paying tribute to former Labour premiers Tony Blair and Clement Attlee.
Whereas his message was designed to enchantment to conventional Conservatives, it was additionally an try and distance himself from the politics of former Labour chief, veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn, who in 2019 led the occasion to its worst defeat for the reason that Nineteen Thirties.
After hailing Thatcher, Starmer wrote that Labour had “modified dramatically within the final three years”.
“I feel the general public will see this for what it’s,” Well being minister Victoria Atkins informed Sky Information.
“Remember he wasn’t interesting to Margaret Thatcher’s entrepreneurial spirit when he was courting votes from the laborious left,” she mentioned. “And I think the good girl herself would view a person who’s attempting to trip on the coattails of her success with the next phrases: ‘No, no, no’.”