Keir Starmer refused to reveal the identity of a Tory he has kissed.
The leader of the Labour Party was answering questions from A-level politics students from St George's School in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, for an edition of the Telegraph'sChopper's Politics podcast and was asked by one named Ruby "which Tory" he had kissed.
Students laughed and Starmer said: "I'm not going to start disclosing that sort of thing".
"When I was your age or maybe a bit older meeting people I didn't sort of say 'this is a great night out, how's it going but before I go any further can I just see your Labour party membership card?'"
"Sometimes politics can get far too tribal where we're not prepared to form friendships, exchange views with people of other parties,” he added.
"That's completely mad and wrong. I've got really good friends who are Tories and that is a very good thing and it doesn't present me with any issues at all."
\u201cTerrific fun making this week\u2019s Chopper\u2019s Politics podcast with @Keir_Starmer and the brilliant A-Level politics students from St George\u2019s, Harpenden @stgeorgesgovpol. \nTheir questions were \ud83d\udd25.\nListen from 6am on Friday morning. @chopperspolitics\u201d
— Christopher Hope\ud83d\udcdd (@Christopher Hope\ud83d\udcdd)
Speaking to the Times, the Labour leader said he has not been “tribal” with personal relationships and politics and also has Tory friends.
Asked about other Labour figures who wear “never kissed a Tory” badges, Starmer said: “I’m afraid I’ve broken that rule. I’m not tribal. I’m on very good terms with many Tory MPs. I’m not ashamed about it and I’ve got very good friends who are Tories and they’ve been very, very good friends of mine for a very, very long time, and long may that last.”
It had been brought up because during the summer, Lucy Powell, a member of Starmer’s shadow cabinet, was pictured wearing a T-shirt with the phrase “never kissed a Tory” at Manchester pride.
Speaking to the students, Starmer added that this phrase started as a joke but now people take it seriously. And when Christopher Hope pressed him on whether the Tory he has kissed "is involved in politics today", Starmer said "Err... I'm not going to be drawn" as students laughed again.
"The fact that you can do it doesn't mean that you must do it. I think it's really hard to look the public in the eye and justify that I certainly won't be doing it.”
He also said a Labour government would not seek further to "nationalise gas and electricity" companies, although he said the party was "pragmatic" about "the case for public ownership".
On tax, he said: "I want taxes to come down for working people. They've been really clobbered time and time again, whether that's on income tax, whether it's National Insurance or council tax."
And pressed by one student if he had ever taken drugs, the Labour leader refused to say "yes" or "no" but mysteriously replied: "I had a good time when I was younger."
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