Nationalise steel or lose our cash, union tells Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer interrupted by climate protestors

Sir Keir Starmer faces criticism from the left and right of his party after Labour’s biggest donor threatened to cut funding unless he promises to renationalise the steel industry.

Sharon Graham, General Secretary of trade union Unite, warned there will be “no blank cheques” as she urged the party to be “bolder”.

Labour has failed to set out a distinct alternative to the Tory Gov­­ernment, she claimed, amid its bids to reassure voters it can manage the economy.

Ms Graham said: “You cannot simply just say you are not going to intervene or you can’t really talk about anything because of restraints on finances.

“We are going to need some very, very bold things from Labour.”

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Unite, which gives Labour almost £1.5million a year, is calling for left-wing policies, including nationalising the steel and energy industries.

Its criticisms echo warnings from ex-home secretary David Blunkett, on Labour’s right, who said it must put forward “radical but not scary policies that will be affordable over a long period of time” to win.

He admitted “people are still not yet totally convinced” about Sir Keir, who is expected to carry out a long-awaited reshuffle of his Shadow Cabinet over the summer.

Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy is likely to be replaced by Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey. But Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper is due to be retained and given a bigger role overseeing Labour’s migration policies, despite criticism of her within the party.

Labour will agree policies to be included in its general election manifesto at a summit later this month.

Proposals considered include ending “punitive sanctions” on benefit claimants who appear to be failing to look for work and gradually renationalising rail service management.

It will also confirm its commitment to spending £28billion annually on a “green” economy by the final year of the next Parliament.

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