When Sir Keir Starmer first took over as leader of the Labour Party the challenges that lay ahead of him were numerous.
After electoral annihilation in December – most distressingly in the red wall seats – the most immediate obstacle was to build back trust and credibility in the party as well as reaching out to those who felt cast aside or stranded in the political wilderness.
Starmer was quick to move on this by hosting virtual meetings in marginal areas such as Bury and the Tees Valley as well as appointing key figures to his shadow cabinet in a bid to better understand the problem before addressing it.
Other issues which blighted the 2019 general election campaign, such as the anti-Semitism crisis, were swiftly dealt with too.
It took Sir Keir less than an hour to apologise to the Jewish community as he promised to tackle the issue head on.
Jewish leaders praised the incoming leader for achieving “in four days more than his predecessor in four years” after he held a video conference to set out steps Labour would be taking to stamp out the “poison” that is antisemitism.
The early success of such moves is undoubtedly evident.
The latest polling shows Starmer has overtaken Boris Johnson as voters’ preferred Prime Minister – just months after the Conservative leader won a landslide election victory.
It represents the first time that a Labour leader has been preferred as a potential prime minister to the Tory incumbent since following the 2017 election – when Jeremy Corbyn edged ahead of Theresa May in a single YouGov poll.
As Tony Blair said late last month, Sir Keir has put Labour “back on the map” by creating a “politically competitive” party which is in a position to win a general election.
To all extents and purposes he is a Prime Minister in waiting if the polls are to be believed- but he has one of the biggest challenges of all still ahead of him.
Preventing Labour from eating itself
Former leadership hopeful David Miliband was quite brazen in outlining just what that was in an interview with Times Radio yesterday.
Commenting on a 860-page report which documented allegations of in-party hostility towards Corbyn during the 2017 election he pleaded to left wing factions to get onside with the new regime – quite rich given they are the ones who had been subjugated to it the most.
Yet he undoubtedly has a point.
The only way Labour can eat into Boris Johnson’s majority is if it stops eating itself.
Calls for a new socialist party and the like are destructive and rather quite childish to say the least, but if Sir Keir isn’t able to redress the issues of the past then he is just as culpable of contributing to the divisions.
Ultimately, that is how we will judge his success.