Red Wall voters are finally taking Keir Starmer seriously

Partygate has acted as a catalyst; voters have fallen out of love with Boris Johnson at pretty much the same time as they decided that Keir was OK, writes Ed Dorrell

<p>Starmer has a great opportunity to land the first Labour victory for nearly two decades</p>

Starmer has a great opportunity to land the first Labour victory for nearly two decades

In the last few weeks, it has felt very much like Keir Starmer has arrived in British politics. He has been the grown-up in the room. In contrast to the toddler in No 10, he has barely put a foot wrong, handling the “Partygate” scandal with aplomb while also finding the time to look statesman-like as the threat of a war on the continent of Europe looms larger than it has for decades.

Starmer has made speeches and penned articles that have set a very different tone to the pantomime in Downing Street. He’s even found time to make one or two timely and politically savvy interventions, such as how he would reverse planned cuts to the British army. Making the rise of crime and fraud central to his messaging has been pitch perfect too.

And the voters have noticed. His polling lead has solidified – and in the focus groups I run every week, often in bits of the Red Wall that Starmer needs to bring back into the Labour fold if he wants to win a general election, people are now taking him seriously. Most of the people I speak to in places like Bury and Teesside are now either relaxed or even in favour of the idea of a PM called Starmer.

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