Keir Starmer has revealed he has kissed a Tory in his time.
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.”
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.
Tory MP Sara Britcliffe criticised her for doing so, saying that the phrase created a sense of “us versus them”, while James Cleverly, then the education secretary, joked that if Powell had asked nicely then “one [Tory] will say yes eventually”.
\u201c\ud83d\udd3a EXCLUSIVE: Yes, he\u2019s kissed a Tory. No, he didn\u2019t grow up feeling poor. He could be the next PM \u2014 but who is the real @Keir_Starmer ? Meet a Labour leader on a mission https://t.co/HTMBsVsFw6\u201d
— The Times and The Sunday Times (@The Times and The Sunday Times)
Elsewhere in the interview, Starmer said he was preparing for government.
“I’ve been talking to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for some time now. I’m conscious that we’ve been out of power for 12 years," he said.
"That means I don’t have people around the shadow cabinet table who’ve got huge experience in government. So I’m determined that we need to be ready to hit the ground running.”
He also spoke about his relationship with his wife: “Vic doesn’t do any stuff where she’s putting her views out into the public domain,” he says. “She’s a very sassy woman. She doesn’t want to be in the limelight; she wants to get on with her life.”
And he slagged of Boris Johnson for his infamous Downing Street flat refurbishment. “I don’t think [the wallpaper is] going to be to my taste," he said. "There will be no stories about what we’re doing to redecorate if we get that far, but as Vic always says, one step at a time.”
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