“The Democrats’ path to victory was paved by a broad coalition,” Keir Starmer has written in The Guardian. Arguing there are lessons to be learned, the Labour leader told readers that Joe Biden won back the trust of the American people with a focus on “family, community and security”. Sound familiar? Starmer made similar points in his first (virtual) speech to Labour conference as leader. He announced back in September that Labour would be a party of opportunity, family and security as he urged voters to “take another look at Labour”. It seems for the Labour leader the Democrat win has vindicated his plan to bridge the ‘cultural values gap’ between cosmopolitans and traditionalists, between Londoners and the ‘Red Wall’, to build a broad coalition of voters to win in 2024.
Bye, Bye Bingham
The Sunday Times has reported that vaccine tsar Kate Bingham spent £670,000 of taxpayer money on a team of boutique public relations consultants. The vaccine taskforce chief, married to Tory minister Jesse Norman, already faced questions over the launch of a biotechnology investment fund and for showing “official sensitive” government documents to US financiers at a $200-a-head conference. Labour has slammed the “huge sums of public money needlessly sprayed on spin doctors” and Rachel Reeves highlighted that it “doesn’t do much for public confidence at all that this is yet another close friend of the Conservative Party”. She has called for an investigation while Downing Street has pointed out that Bingham’s contract is up next month.
Government action on Children’s Free Meals
Marcus Rashford scores again. The 23-year-old has forced the government into another U-turn over holiday hunger. After the Conservatives voted down a Labour motion to extend free school meals over the holidays ahead of half term last month, some some truly terrible Tory excuses followed for why we can’t feed starving children. But Boris Johnson has now conceded defeat, and the Prime Minister phoned Rashford on Saturday to confirm he had changed his mind. The government will now provide a package of £400m to support families, including a £170m ring-fenced fund distributed through councils for help with food and bills.
Internal Market Bill
And another defeat could be on the table for the government this afternoon. The Lords will today debate the controversial internal market bill and the peers are expected to ditch the international law-breaking powers in the legislation. Shadow Attorney General Lord Falconer this morning urged the government to “stop and think” and asked: “What on earth is the point of making the UK an international pariah?” He highlighted that incoming US President Biden wants the UK to abide by the Northern Ireland protocol and the implications for future trade deal with the country. It would not be at all unusual for the upper chamber to reject government proposals – it has done so 42 times since the last general election. That’s one to watch today.
Source: @elliot_chappell , Labourlist