Related video: Keir Starmer says he won't nationalise energy

BBC

Things haven’t just been getting intense for the Conservative Party leadership candidates in recent days, as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer continues to be grilled over promises made during his own campaign back in 2020.

One of his ’10 pledges’ made to Labour Party members at the time was around common ownership, in which the Holborn and St Pancras MP said “public services should be in public hands” and that he supports “common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water”.

Except on Tuesday, Sir Keir told BBC Breakfast: “We’ve got to recognise that after the pandemic we’re in a different situation financially to the situation that we were in before, and we want a responsible Government that says if we’re going to do something we will tell you how we’re going to pay for it.

“The single most important thing is how we grow the economy, re-energise the economy, and that can’t be reduced to a discussion about nationalisation.”

Then there’s the matter of his stance on The Sun, as during his party’s leadership contest two years ago, he said to a crowd in Liverpool: “This city has been wounded by the media - The Sun – in this city. A hurt for this city, and I certainly won’t be giving any interviews to The Sun during the course of this campaign.”

Except it looked as though Sir Keir had forgotten all about that hurt a year later, when he wrote an op-ed for the right-wing newspaper.

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And it was these contradictions that the Labour leader was challenged on by a party member in Liverpool on Monday, in a clip which has since gone viral online.

Audrey White told Sir Keir: “I don’t know how you’ve got the guts to come to this city after you have been interviewed and doing columns for The Sun newspaper. After the way we as a city were abused, and after … the Hillsborough victims were abused by that paper, and you’ve come here.”

Liverpool has widely boycotted the outlet as a result of its coverage of the 1989 tragedy, which saw the paper falsely claim fans of the city’s football club were responsible for the deaths of 97 supporters who were crushed at Hillsborough stadium.

She continued: “Secondly, you lied to us about uniting the party. I’m still a Labour Party member, and you’ve expelled and you’ve witch-hunted in the most vicious way I have seen in my lifetime, and I’ve been a member of the Labour Party for a long, long time.

“You have absolutely said you had 10 pledges, you were going to carry on the Corbyn legacy, and ever since, you’ve done nothing but distance yourself from the idea which tens of thousands of people joined the Labour Party to support.”

Ms White went on to accuse Sir Keir of “feeding into the Tory ideology” as a result of “not supporting strikes” and “carrying on” with NHS privatisation.

“You’re doing everything to feed into a Tory victory. We may as well have a Tory if we have a person like you, who lies to the party,” she said.

As someone from Sir Keir’s team tried to usher her away, the Labour member added: “You’re dishonest and our health service is going right down the pan, and you have a big responsibility for working class people of this country.”

Ouch.

Ms White’s comments have since received praise from other Labour supporters:

Meanwhile, Sir Keir has said his “pragmatic” approach means for most utilities “the answer is going to lie in regulating the market, changing the market, rather than simply taking things into public ownership”.

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