Keir Starmer has been backed by Larry Fink, the chairman and CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, as he said the Labour leader now offers a “measurement of hope”.
Fink, one of the world’s most influential financiers, told the Wall Street Journal that Starmer had shown “real strength” in bringing Labour to the centre ground.
The comments came in an interview with the WSJ’s Free Expression podcast.
Fink said: “I was in the UK and I spent time with both parties — the Conservatives and Labour party — and I’m very pleased to see how the Labour party in the UK went from an extremist party with a Marxist leader to Keir Starmer who has shown real strength as a moderate Labour party”.
It was a reference to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, who led the Labour Party from 2015 to 2020.
Answering questions on the challenges of “populism”, which he said had afflicted Western democracies over recent years, he added: “That actually has given me hope that the pendulum went so far.
“If you think about the UK — the UK was the one that started the high level populism through Brexit and then the populism here led to Donald Trump being president.
“I hope the UK — we will see what happens if Keir Starmer gets elected — but I believe that’s a measurement of hope.”
Fink, a billionaire who gives money to the US Democrats, also warned that too many political leaders were “governing through fear”, which was undermining trust in political institutions.
“There is no question in my mind I have never seen more fear, more distrust,” he said. “Fear is pervasive now, whether because of geopolitical issues — whether it is ‘who do I listen to?”, he said.
“I think it is the responsibility of the press, business leaders to elevate hope again. Historically you would have said that leadership in government would provide hope and right now they are governing through fear”.
Fink also praised Rishi Sunak for rolling back on net-zero targets.
He said: “Power is more important than your strategy, okay, keeping the lights on. In the UK, they weren’t going to ever meet those targets they overdid, so he actually rolled back to some more sensibility, in my opinion”.
A spokesperson for BlackRock said: “Larry was offering his observations on the transformation of the Labour Party and his view that political parties moving back toward the centre was a measurement of hope. He was not offering an endorsement of any political Party.”
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Article amended to include comment from BlackRock spokesperson.