Piers Morgan would be 'asset' to GB News says Andrew Neil
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Reports claim Mr Morgan has bigger appeal to Red Wall voters than the Labour Party, and Sir Keir was called on to move away from some comments made by his MPs. It comes as the journalist and former presenter vowed to “re-emerge” after leaving Good Morning Britain in the aftermath of a row over Meghan Markle’s Oprah Winfrey interview. Mr Morgan caused a storm and was called-out by his own colleagues on air after he said he didn’t believe “a word” Meghan had said about her struggles with mental health.
Some 41,000 people complained to the regulator Ofcom about his comments.
Yet, Mr Morgan might actually appeal more to swathes of the country than previously believed.
A Labour insider told The Times in February: “Even Piers Morgan has more traction with these voters”, referring to the working class communities in the so-called Red Wall that the party lost in the 2019 general election.
Sir Keir is currently fighting to win-back these north of England and midlands regions traditionally considered Labour safe seats.
Since becoming leader in April last year, he has promised to make Labour the “patriotic party” and is now rarely seen without a Union Jack behind him in speeches.
While all of this is well and good, said Paul Embery, a leading trade unionist and Labour member, Sir Keir must target the core of Labour’s problem, its recently adopted “woke values”.
Mr Embery said much of this ideology was introduced under former leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Prominent members of Sir Keir’s Shadow Cabinet like David Lammy, the Shadow Justice Secretary, have championed “wokeness”, with the politician urging Britons to be proud of the concept in an LBC talk show segment earlier this year.
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Mr Embery warned that such rhetoric is “out of touch” with the majority of the country, especially among those voters Labour so desperately needs to regain the trust of.
He told Express.co.uk: “Starmer has a huge task on his hands simply because he’s trying to manoeuvre a party into that position of articulating the principles of family, patriotism, community – a party that is instinctively uncomfortable with that stuff.
“Wokeness is about being very pretentious about social causes coupled with an intolerance towards anyone who might disagree.
“People try to gain kudos by expressing a fashionable moral or political opinion and again, it’s got a middle class graduate whiff about it.
“There’s a real authoritarianism that has crept into the Left and I think it’s now infecting large parts of the country including many of our public institutions and corporations.
“And because it’s being driven by the Left, the Left gets associated with [it], and people in these working class communities don’t like it.
“The party has to move away from some of this rubbish because it’s damaging.”
Asked how viable it is for Sir Keir to rid the party of “wokeness” given so many of his Shadow Cabinet appear behind it, he said: “There’s going to be resistance to his dragging the party into that place and it’s going to be very difficult.
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“But he needs to battle on because unless he does it, unless he gets Labour on that territory where it can win back those working class votes then it’s never going to win back power again – it’s as simple as that.”
Sir Keir has since trodden tenuously in his bid to keep both his team and target voters happy.
Last year, he was criticised for calling the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement a “moment”, accused of dismissing the campaign’s importance.
Labour MP Florence Eshalomi said his “choice of words [was] wrong”, and Sir Keir later apologised.
Steven Fielding, Professor of Political History at the University of Nottingham, said many in the Labour now fear the leader might push the party too far to the cultural right.
He told Express.co.uk: “It’s part of a sense of unease that some people have had about Starmer and the direction he’s taking the party, they view him as a sort of Trojan Horse.
“That’s essentially their fear, and that’s how they see him.
“For some of them, it fits into their nightmare scenario, that Keir Starmer is Tony Blair reborn.”
Many party staffers voiced concern earlier this year following the release of a leaked memo that showed how Labour planned to win back disillusioned voters.
It came from an internal strategy presentation commissioned by the party that stated Labour must make “use of the [Union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly”.
The Guardian, who saw the report, noted that it proved Labour was playing “identity politics”, with others arguing it exposes a veneer of naivety from the party about its traditional voter base.
A party spokesperson said the wording came from the brand agency Republic’s language rather than the Labour Party.
One member told the publication: “I was just sitting there replaying in my mind the storming of the Capitol [in Washington last month] and thinking: are you really so blind to what happens when you start pandering to the language and concerns of the right?”
Clive Lewis, a prominent Corbynite who dropped out of the party’s leadership race early on last year, and served as a soldier in Afghanistan, said: “The Tory party has absorbed Ukip and now Labour appears to be absorbing the language and symbols of the Tory party.
“It’s not patriotism; it’s Fatherland-ism. There’s a better way to build social cohesion than moving down the track of the nativist right.”
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