Keir Starmer says Boris is ‘just not up to the job’ in brutal personal attack

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Sir Keir Starmer has slammed Boris Johnson as ‘not up for the job’ and blasted the Government’s ‘incompetence’ over its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

At a speech in Doncaster this morning the Labour leader said the party is ‘under new leadership’, in a clear sign he was breaking from the Jeremy Corbyn era, and vowed the party will ‘never again’ go into an election not being trusted by the public. 

Sir Keir was scathing about the Government’s chaotic handling of the coronavirus crisis, saying they have ‘lost control’ and the testing system has ‘collapsed just when we needed it most’.

The former lawyer reserved some of his most biting criticism for the Prime Minister’s ‘serial incompetence’ over Covid-19 and the ongoing Brexit negotiations. 

He told Labour’s virtual conference: ‘I’ve tried to be fair, to give the government the benefit of the doubt. 

Sir Keir was scathing about the Government's chaotic handling of the coronavirus crisis, saying they have 'lost control' and the testing system has 'collapsed just when we needed it most'

Sir Keir was scathing about the Government’s chaotic handling of the coronavirus crisis, saying they have ‘lost control’ and the testing system has ‘collapsed just when we needed it most’

Sir Keir Starmer on Boris Johnson

The Labour leader lashed out at the Prime Minister this morning, condemning his ‘serial incompetence’ over Brexit negotiations and the handling of coronavirus pandemic.

He said the PM is ‘just not serious’ and ‘not up to the job.’ 

Sir Keir added that ‘just when the country needs leadership, we get serial incompetence’ 

The former lawyer then sought to contrast his career to date with Mr Johnson’s. 

He told Labour’s virtual conference: ‘While Boris Johnson was writing flippant columns about bendy bananas, I was defending victims and prosecuting terrorists.

‘While he was being sacked by a newspaper for making up quotes, I was fighting for justice and the rule of law.’ 

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‘But now, with one of the highest death rates in the world, and on the threshold of one of the deepest recessions anywhere, I’m afraid there is no doubt. This government’s incompetence is holding Britain back. 

‘They couldn’t get kids back into school in June. They couldn’t work out a fair system to get exams marked. They couldn’t get protective equipment to care workers and they wasted millions of your money in the process. 

‘Their failure to protect care homes is a national scandal. They still can’t organise a testing regime that’s even serviceable, let alone world-beating.’

Sir Keir said Mr Johnson was ‘just not serious and ‘he’s not up to the job.’ 

The former director of public prosecutions, said: ‘While Boris Johnson was writing flippant columns about bendy bananas, I was defending victims and prosecuting terrorists.

‘While he was being sacked by a newspaper for making up quotes, I was fighting for justice and the rule of law.’

On Brexit, one of the key factors in Labour’s defeat, Sir Keir attempted to draw a line under the Leave/Remain battles.

But he insisted the Prime Minister had to get a deal with Brussels to protect businesses and working people.

‘If the Prime Minister fails to get one, he will be failing Britain. If that happens, he’ll have nobody to blame but himself.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer arriving to give his keynote speech at the virtual Labour conference alongside MP Jenny Chapman and Ros Jones, the Mayor of Doncaster, today

 Labour Party leader Keir Starmer arriving to give his keynote speech at the virtual Labour conference alongside MP Jenny Chapman and Ros Jones, the Mayor of Doncaster, today

‘And he will have to own that failure. It will be on him.’

Despite his attacks on the Government, Sir Keir said Labour also had to be ‘brutally honest’ in its examination of its own failures.

‘When you lose an election in a democracy, you deserve to,’ he said.

‘You don’t look at the electorate and ask them: ‘What were you thinking?’ You look at yourself and ask: ‘What were we doing?’

‘The Labour Party has lost four general elections in a row. We’ve granted the Tories a decade of power.

‘The Tories have had as many election winners in five years as we’ve had in 75.’

It was now time to get ‘serious about winning’, Sir Keir, said as he gave himself the job of emulating Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson and Tony Blair.

The party’s next election manifesto ‘will be rooted in Labour values’, but ‘it won’t sound like anything you’ve heard before’.

He said Labour could only win back trust by providing ‘security and opportunity at work’ and ending ‘structural flaws in our economy’ that meant people had barely had a pay rise for a decade.

The party would fix the housing crisis, he said, and understand the need for an economy that tackles climate change.

Winning the next election would mean being a party that ‘guarantees the security and integrity of this nation’.

Labour would give ‘young people the start in life they deserve’ and ‘older people the dignity that they’ve earned’.

He called on the Prime Minister to end a ‘decade of drift’ by coming up with a plan to fix social care.

Sir Keir also called on Boris Johnson to bring forward a national strategy enforced by an independent body ‘to close the education gap’ as he pressured the Prime Minister over the exams fiasco and delays in getting children back to school during the pandemic.

The Labour leader acknowledged the party faced a difficult path back to power.

‘Trust takes time,’ he said. ‘It starts with being a credible Opposition. With taking the job seriously. That’s what we will do.

‘So to those people in Doncaster and Deeside, in Glasgow and Grimsby, in Stoke and in Stevenage, to those who have turned away from Labour, I say this: We hear you.

‘Never again will Labour take you or the things you care about for granted. And I ask you: Take another look at Labour.’

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