Labour's bid to reclaim the centre

The Johnson government has failed entirely when it comes to Brexit and the coronavirus, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said during the party's virtual party conference, which ended on Tuesday. Starmer also took aim at the left-wing course of his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn - under whom Labour had the worst election result since 1935. Will his moderate line put Labour back on the road to success?

Open/close all quotes
The Evening Standard (GB) /

Plenty of courage but in need of a clear course

The new Labour Party boss must now step up his game, The Evening Standard writes:

“Yes, it was a good speech, but how many actual voters will ever get to see it, particularly in the red wall? What does he do about Scotland? And although he has time, he will at some point have to start mapping out policies, leaving him exposed to attacks from both the Tories and hard-Left. Overall, Starmer should be pleased with his first big outing, particularly with how he finally had the courage to take on Johnson who despite his current woes, is still a formidable, election-winning opponent.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

With left-wing patriotism to 10 Downing Street?

Starmer is deliberately distancing himself from his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn in his bid to bring Labour back to power, Corriere della Sera's London correspondent Luigi Ippolito surmises:

“In his speech, Starmer announced that never again would Labour go into an election not being trusted on national security. A clear attack on Corbyn, who lost support precisely because of his 'anti-imperialist' militancy, which had led him to sympathise with all enemies of the West, from Hezbollah to Chavez to the IRA's Northern Irish terrorists. No more misunderstandings and ambiguities, Starmer says now: the nation and the family are Labour's values.”

The Independent (GB) /

Get rid of the radicals

Starmer must not make any concessions to the opponents of a middle course, The Independent urges:

“Any Labour moderate aiming for electoral victory must work to purge the membership of its Stalinists, and the sooner the better. Failing to do so risks the Labour leader continuing to struggle against the tide of student union, amateur politics - because whilst Labour press releases go public, so do the hateful posts disseminated by those with hammers and sickles in their Twitter bios. Perhaps the cleanest way to settle the matter is for the Labour leader to become so offensive to this faction of the left that its adherents rid themselves of their Labour membership, with no other intervention required.”