Thursday, 1 Jun 2023

Starmer mocked for ‘spectacular own goal’ in Labour attack ads

Keir Starmer outlines Labour’s missions

Sir Keir Starmer has been mocked for a “spectacular own goal” after the Labour Party launched a series of attack adverts criticising the Government. One advert criticised the Conservatives for a 15 percent council tax hike, which was introduced in response to a Labour authority going bust. The online ad saw Labour accusing the Conservatives of “raising council tax by up to 15 percent”, adding: “Do you think your council tax should be 15 percent higher? Rishi Sunak does.”

Croydon, the authority in question which saw council tax hiked by 15 percent, was given special permission to help rebuild its finances following poor management by a previous Labour regime.

Last month, Croydon Council was put in special measures, as the Government moved to halve half a billion pounds of debt written off.

Conservatives won the leadership race for Croydon Council in 2022 for the first time.

New council leader Jason Perry railed against the previous Labour administrations, telling Express.co.uk: “We have had bankruptcy, we have had borrowing, we have had £1.6billion in debt – £15,000 an hour borrowed under this council.

“Sadly, Croydon has been brought to its knees following eight years of a Labour Council which crashed Croydon’s finances and governance.

“In that period they increased debts to a toxic level of £1.6billion, costing around £50million per year to service.”

He added: “We took the very difficult decision to raise Council Tax by 15 percent this year as a first step towards restoring sound financial management to Croydon. This is a decision that was not taken lightly, and it angers and saddens me that Croydon has been brought to this.”

Home Office minister Chris Philp described the council tax advert as “another spectacular own goal which serves to highlight something that is in fact Labour’s own fault”.

Mr Philp, MP for Croydon South, said: “I am astonished Labour is choosing to highlight the fact a council they ran until May 2022 went spectacularly bust on their watch necessitating this tax increase.

“Labour spectacularly bankrupted Croydon during their eight years running the Borough.”

The Labour Party has published a series of controversial adverts on Twitter, one of which claimed Rishi Sunak does not think child sex abusers should go to prison.

The poster cited Ministry of Justice figures that 4,500 adults convicted of sexually assaulting children have avoided jail and instead received community or suspended sentences since 2010.

The ad campaign has prompted criticism from within the Labour Party, with MP and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying: “This is not the sort of politics a Labour Party, confident of its own values and preparing to govern, should be engaged in.

“I say to the people who have taken the decision to publish this ad, please withdraw it. We, the Labour Party, are better than this.”

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper also distanced herself from the advert, claiming she was not consulted about the ad.

Meanwhile, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton, Kempton, criticised the ads, warning they could backfire and “harm” the party in some parts of the country.

He told the Independent: “I’ve expressed my disquiet about it at the very highest level of the party, and my concern that it might have a negative electoral impact in Brighton.”

One senior Labour backbencher said numerous MPs had complained to Sir Keir about the ad, saying it had caused deep frustration across the party.

The MP claimed many MPs had criticized the strategy on parliamentary WhatsApp groups, dismissing it as “gutter politics”.

Meanwhile, Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson described the first ad as “vile and desperate.”

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