Labour will cut taxes for ‘working people’, vows Sir Keir Starmer

Sir Keir added: “We’re in a sort of defensive flex all the time, almost lacking the confidence to go forward. We’ve got to break through that. But we’ve got to get people to vote Labor again.”

Sir Keir said he has good Tory friends. “Sometimes politics can become very tribal where we are not ready to make friends and exchange views with people from other parties,” he said.

“It’s absolutely insane and wrong. I have really good Tory friends and that’s a very good thing and doesn’t present me with any problems at all.”

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His biggest challenge is stemming “slackness” among members of the shadow cabinet, given the party’s consistently large lead in opinion polls.

He said, “Every vote has to be won and we have to fight like we’ve been five points behind in the polls all the time. So don’t ever relax.”

Sir Keir has also turned his face against any closer alliance with the EU, saying he opposes something similar to a trade bloc arrangement with Switzerland – where it would have to accept large numbers of migrants.

He said, “I went to Switzerland and studied this model and I’m not going to make a Swiss model. There’s no going back, but the deal we got isn’t good enough. We have to improve on that.”

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On Scottish independence, Sir Keir said: “This is not the time for a referendum. There is much we need to do that is of much higher priority than the constitutional argument.”

Sir Keir also confirmed that Labor would not count on the support of SNP MPs to form a government if there is a hung parliament after the next election.

He said: “No deal whatsoever with the SNP. I can’t be clearer on that. We want a Labor majority government.”

Elsewhere, Sir Keir defended the candidacy of Tom Watson, a former Labor minister, for the peerage.

“For us to change the House of Lords, we need good people because they have a really important role in scrutinizing legislation,” he said.

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