Sian Berry has said Sir Keir Starmer’s lack of opposition has pushed voters to the Green Party after new polling showed a left wing exodus away from Labour.
The co-party leader spoke to Owen Jones about a recent resurgence which has seen the Greens overtake the Liberal Democrats as the UK’s third-largest party.
It is believed the rally has been partly fuelled by disenfranchised Labour voters who have found a more natural home with Berry’s Greens, prompting Jones to ask whether she could be Starmer’s worst nightmare.
He needs to stand for more
She said: “If he wants to look and learn lessons from us, then he needs to think about standing for a bit more quite honestly.”
Referring to Andrew Marr’s series of interviews with leaders she said Starmer had demonstrated that he was not a strong enough opposition.
“One of the questions was about teachers and whether or not schools should go back and whether teachers should get vaccinations.
“And he wouldn’t take a position.
“He said over and over again “there’s a strong case” and then wouldn’t actually call for it”.
Keir Starmer's worst nightmare?— Owen Jones ? (@OwenJones84) February 24, 2021
My interview with Green Party co-leader @sianberry on why Labour voters are defecting to her party – and whether they do really offer an alternative.https://t.co/m1k4PAC0ag
‘If this is opposition I’m a banana’
Earlier this week Sir Keir refused to call for Matt Hancock’s resignation, despite the health secretary breaking the law and being embroiled in a Covid contracts scandal.
The lack of action subsequently led one person to comment that “if this is opposition I’m a banana”, sentiment many seem to be on board with.
A crowdfunding campaign was launched shortly after to help ‘buy Sir Keir a spine’, with the page author noting:
In these difficult times it is more important than ever to stand up to the Tories and hold them to account. Poor Keir is leader of the opposition and seems unable to do so. We all take our spines for granted – spare a thought for those who seem to be without – and give whatever you can spare for this worthy cause.
It chimes with polling that shows the public are divided on whether he has a “clear vision” or has given people reasons to vote Labour.
And while nearly half say he has “changed Labour for the better”, his party is seen as less united and his front bench team less qualified to deal with Britain’s problems than the Conservatives.