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Speaking to the Sunday Express, he said: “Our focus is on the voters.” Doing the right thing for the country was more important than placating critics, he said. My motto is country first.”
The Labour leader is under fire from some party members for failing to back striking workers and for sacking MP Sam Tarry from the shadow front bench after he joined rail staff on a picket line.
Left-wingers are attempting to pressure the leadership into changing its approach and Momentum, the campaigning organisation which backed Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign to become party leader in 2015, is urging supporters to submit a motion in support of striking workers to the party’s annual conference in September.
Meanwhile, a new campaign group called Enough is Enough, backed by Mr Tarry and MP Zarah Sultana, is reported to have signed-up 400,000 supporters.
It is calling for public sector pay to increase in line with inflation and the energy price cap to be reduced to £1,277 per year.
An Enough is Enough rally in Manchester, on Tuesday, will be attended by Mick Lynch, Secretary-General of the RMT union, which has been involved in many of the recent rail strikes. Organisers are advertising Greater Manchester’s Labour Mayor Andy Burnham, usually seen as being on the centre-left, as one of the speakers.
Sir Keir insisted changes he had made to Labour since replacing Mr Corbyn were essential in order to allow it to gain power.
Highlighting recent surveys showing his party well ahead of the Conservatives, he said: “The polls are an indication of the work we have done to make the Labour Party ready for government.
“We are ready for an election. We are ready to win.”
Asked how he would deal with strike action by unions, he said: “We would have effective action to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.
“We have got to have an answer to the cost-of-living crisis and that is why we have put forward a comprehensive plan.
“The role of Government is to get people round a table and make sure we resolve the issues.”
Vocal critics of Sir Keir include former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott who posted on Twitter that there had been an “exodus of Labour Party members under Starmer’s leadership”.
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