Keir Starmer has in a move to further distance himself from former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn declared that the Labour Party is under new management now as he asked Boris Johnson on Wednesday during PMQs “why on earth” did he chose to “seat on” a report by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) into Russian meddling in Britain’s democracy. Keir Starmer Distances Himself From Corbyn, Declares Labour Under New Leadership.
After months of completion, the report was only published yesterday and it concluded the government “took its eye off the ball” and failed to react to the threat put forward by Russia.
Meanwhile, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused Starmer of having “sat on his hands and said nothing while the Labour Party parroted the line of the Kremlin” when Corbyn was a leader at the time of the Salisbury poisoning.
But Starmer argued that he had been absolutely clear in condemning Russian interference
“I’d ask the prime minister to check the record and withdraw that,” he said. “Under my leadership, national security will always be the top priority for Labour.”
In an appearance on BBC Question Time on March 15, 2018, Starmer said he condemned the poisoning “without reservation” and it was the “right conclusion” that “responsibility lies with Russia”.
Starmer also called on Mr Johnson to tackle “Kremlin-backed disinformation” and suggested the government should “look again” at the licensing for broadcaster RT, formerly Russia Today, to operate in the UK.
But Boris Johnson quickly told Starmer he should have called out Corbyn “when he received money for appearing on Russia Today”. It’s on record that Corbyn, as well as members of his shadow cabinet, regularly appeared on the TV channel.
Starmer hit back: “In case the prime minister hasn’t noticed, the Labour Party is under new management. No frontbencher of this party has appeared on Russia Today since I have been leading this party.”
The explicit distancing from Corbyn came hours after Labour agreed to pay “substantial damages” to whistleblowers who contributed to a TV expose of its handling of anti-Semitism under Corbyn leadership.