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Starmer’s New Election Pledges Spark Debate Over Trust and Feasibility Amidst Previous Promise Retreats



Labour's Sir Keir Starmer emphasizes his reliability, contrasting new voter commitments with previously unfulfilled promises

During an interview with Sky News' Beth Rigby at a significant event before the election, the Labour leader expressed his commitment to only make promises he can keep post-election. He unveiled six new pledges to the electorate at this gathering, ahead of the forthcoming general election.

Political journalist @Journoamrogers

Thursday, May 16, 2024, 6:

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Sir Keir Starmer has affirmed his commitment to fulfilling his six promises to the electorate, despite having reneged on several commitments that initially helped him secure the position of Labour leader.

During a conversation with Sky News' political editor Beth Rigby, Sir Keir staunchly justified his choice to modify several of the 10 commitments he had promised to party members while vying to replace Jeremy Corbyn after Labour's severe defeat in the 2019 general election.

The leader of the Labour Party stated, "As facts and situations evolve, effective leaders must also adjust and respond accordingly."

The head of the Labour Party addressed the media after a significant event in Essex, outlining the initial actions a Labour government would take, ahead of the upcoming elections.

Latest in Politics: Sunak Faces Direct Inquiry While Starmer Details Commitments

The six objectives, reminiscent of the pledge card presented by Sir Tony Blair to the electorate prior to the 1997 general election, aim to ensure economic stability, reduce NHS queues, tackle anti-social behavior, hire 6,500 additional teachers, establish a new border security command, and create a state-owned entity named Great British Energy.

Sir Keir stated that the agenda would be challenging to implement, noting that the public should anticipate the fulfillment of these commitments within two terms of a Labour administration.

The commitments are also being measured against the 10 vows Sir Keir Starmer made during his campaign for leadership, most of which have since been weakened or dropped.

In the 2020 leadership race, he pledged to reinstate free tuition and take key public utilities into public ownership, commitments that have since been dialed down.

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'Abandoned nearly all commitments'

In response to being questioned on his reliability after abandoning nearly all the promises he made when elected as Labour leader, Sir Keir answered, "You are aware that beneath each of the 10 pledges, there are about two or three sub-pledges."

"We're looking at roughly 30 pledges, with a handful having been modified. While most are still intact, I acknowledge that several have undergone adjustments."

Discover more: By maintaining restraint in commitments now, Labour might benefit later. What has Labour vowed to accomplish if they come to power?

He likened the situation to that of Liz Truss, whose brief 44-day tenure as Prime Minister collapsed following the failure of her economic policies, commenting, "I believe the public may be more skeptical than you think of a person who insists, 'despite my promises, the economy is now suffering, but I will proceed with my plans regardless of our financial constraints'."

"I truly believe that it doesn't foster trust or confidence, as the public is aware that the situation has evolved."

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'Lack of specific, quantifiable goals'

The commitments are viewed as an extension of the five "missions" that Sir Keir introduced previously, yet he encountered inquiries about the vagueness of his latest promises compared to the detailed ones Sir Tony made almost thirty years earlier.

Rigby pointed out to Sir Keir that the previous Labour prime minister had pledged to reduce classroom sizes to no more than 30 students and to decrease NHS waiting lists by 100,000.

"She noted that your focus has been on economic stability, enhancing border security, and establishing GB Energy."

"The document lacks specific, quantifiable goals. It includes just one figure, and that only in relation to the teachers. Its ambiguity ensures that no clear commitments appear to be violated.

"It's quite elusive, don't you think?"

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"I won't commit to something I'm not sure I can fulfill."

The leader of the Labour Party emphasized his commitment to creating 40,000 new positions, including the hiring of 6,500 teachers, and refuted claims that his promises were too modest.

"I won't commit to something before the election that I believe I can't fulfill afterward," he stated.

"Over the past 14 years, the public has been repeatedly promised the world by politicians before elections, only to see those promises unfulfilled afterward. It's time to end this cycle.

"Therefore, I need to be transparent and acknowledge my capabilities as well as my limitations. It's important to communicate this before the election to maintain honesty with the voters."

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