Keir Starmer

Lord Ashcroft’s new book, “Red Knight: The Unauthorised Biography of Sir Keir Starmer”, is published today

By Lord Ashcroft

RED KNIGHT
THE UNAUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY OF SIR KEIR STARMER

BY MICHAEL ASHCROFT

Publication date: 19th August 2021
Price: £20 hardback

Sir Keir Starmer has played many parts during his life and career. He went from schoolboy socialist to radical lawyer before surprising many by joining the establishment, becoming Director of Public Prosecutions, accepting a knighthood and then, in 2015, standing successfully for Parliament. At Westminster, he was swiftly elevated to the shadow Cabinet, and in April 2020 he became the leader of the Labour Party.

Michael Ashcroft’s new book goes in search of the man who wants to be Prime Minister and reveals previously unknown details about him which help to explain what makes him tick. (more…)

Starmer’s Brexit calamity: The irony is exquisite

By Lord Ashcroft

Serialisation of Red Knight: The Unauthorised Biography Of Sir Keir Starmer, in The Mail on Sunday on 20 June 2021.

A forensic new biography of the Labour leader reveals how his arrogant refusal to accept the referendum result unwittingly helped make Boris PM – and gave Britain the hard Brexit he most dreaded…

In the first part of our serialisation last week of Lord Ashcroft’s forensically researched new biography of Sir Keir Starmer, we told how the flute-playing, grammar school educated Labour leader has been accused of overplaying his working-class credentials.

Here, in the final part, we explain how the die-hard Remainer may well have unwittingly secured Boris Johnson’s 2019 General Election triumph and a much harder Brexit. (more…)

A New Political Landscape?

By Lord Ashcroft

The covid crisis has dominated the news for so long that it sometimes seems as though politics has gone into suspended animation. But as the agenda moves on, the challenge for parties in consolidating and expanding their coalitions of support remains the same. As I argued in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday, Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer each have a conundrum to wrestle with on that front. My latest research, published today, looks in detail at how voters have reacted to the government’s handling of the crisis, what they make of Labour’s new management, and how much – or how little – the pandemic has transformed the political landscape. The full report is below, but here are the main points.

Overall, I found people more likely to think the government had underreacted to the pandemic than overreacted. Half of 2019 Conservative voters thought this – including two thirds of those who had switched from Labour – as well as more than six in ten voters overall (more…)

Voters have turned, but all is not lost for the Tories

By Lord Ashcroft

This article first appeared in the Mail on Sunday

It seems scarcely believable that only just over nine months ago a triumphant Boris Johnson was returned to Downing Street with an 80-seat majority that transformed the political map of Britain. The covid crisis has not just derailed the “levelling up” agenda and overshadowed the sunny optimism that was Johnson’s hallmark until the pandemic struck: in political terms it has given the Conservatives a premature case of the midterm blues.

Many voters on all sides take a much more forgiving view of the government’s handling of the crisis than the media coverage might suggest. As I found in my latest research, people spontaneously praise the furlough schemes and the speedy creation of the Nightingale hospitals. Even critics admit that ministers are doing their level best with no precedent to help guide their decisions. In my poll, the proportion saying the government had done a reasonable job in difficult circumstances matched those who thought its handling had made things worse. Boris himself has won some unlikely hearts: “He’s stuck by the British people and done his damnedest to help,” said one 2019 Labour voter explaining his change of heart towards the PM.

But the criticisms are many: why did we not take action sooner, people ask, at the very least by restricting flights from covid-hit countries like China? (more…)