©UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor

The Green party: ‘U-turns show Keir Starmer is not good at politics’

Former Green party co-leader Siân Berry has said that Keir Starmer’s U-turns over issues like the two-child benefit cap show the Labour leader “isn’t very good at politics”.

Ms Berry, who was recently selected as the Green party candidate in Brighton Pavilion for the next general election, told Times Radio that Sir Keir is “really careless about a lot of support that the Labour Party have won over the years”.

She added that the Labour leader’s approach to the Uxbridge and South Ruislip campaign amounted to “throwing the Mayor of London under the bus” after the party refused to back Sadiq Khan’s planned expansion of the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone or ULEZ. 

Ms Berry, who is also a member of the London Assembly, continued: “I’m really concerned that Keir Starmer isn’t very good at politics because that was outrageous throwing the the Mayor of London under the bus for a policy he’d spent many years and his whole political reputation on. That’s not actually good leadership and you do want good leadership from a new prime minister”.

Labour came a close second in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election, losing out to the Conservative Party candidate Steve Tuckwell by 495 votes. 

Mr Tuckwell ran a campaign focussed on the planned expansion of the ULEZ scheme and, in his victory speech, told activists that ULEZ “lost Labour this election”. 

In the campaign, Labour candidate Danny Beales spoke out against the planned expansion. He took part in a hustings in which he said it was “not the right time” to expand the scheme into the borough of Hillingdon, which covers Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

The Labour candidate told the hustings event that he had heard “heart-wrenching stories” from residents and workers who are unable to pay the daily £12.50 charge or switch to a new car that meets emissions standards.

Elsewhere, Keir Starmer has been criticised for changing his position on the two-child benefit cap. 

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme recently, the Labour leader was asked if the cap would be removed.

Sir Keir said: “We are not changing that policy.”

Later in the interview he said that “of course” it was worth him angering people on the left of Labour if it was necessary to win the election.

“The Labour Party was created to give working people not just representation in parliament but a government in parliament that can govern on their behalf and change the lives of millions of people for the better,” he said.

“I have been changing the Labour Party to put us in a position where we are now credible contenders for the next election.”

Ms Berry recently won the Green Party selection contest in Brighton Pavilion with 71 per cent of first preference votes.

It came after Green Party MP Caroline Lucas announced she would be stepping down at the next general election.

Ms Berry, who was co-leader of the party alongside Jonathan Bartley between 2018 and 2021, said following in Caroline Lucas’s footsteps was an “enormous responsibility”.

She said: “Brighton Pavilion needs a Green MP in parliament representing all the people across this wonderful constituency, and I can promise every voter in Brighton Pavilion that I will work every moment between now and the general election to win their trust and support.”