Labour ready to fight general election against any Tory leader, says Starmer

It comes as Boris Johnson continues to be engulfed in the partygate scandal.

Tom Eden
Friday 28 January 2022 13:48
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said a general election should be held in Boris Johnson goes (John Linton/PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said a general election should be held in Boris Johnson goes (John Linton/PA)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he wants a general election as soon as possible and he does not care who leads the Conservatives into it.

Conservative ministers including Jacob Rees-Mogg have argued that if the Tories oust Boris Johnson over the partygate scandal, the new leader should call a general election.

Asked whether any new prime minister should seek a mandate from the country, Sir Keir said he is keen for an election even if Mr Johnson remains in charge.

Speaking during a visit to Glasgow on Friday, he told broadcasters: “I don’t mind who leads the Conservative Party or who is the prime minister, we’ll go up against them and make the powerful case against them.

“And the sooner they call a general election the better, as far as I’m concerned.”

Sir Keir Starmer joined Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar for a visit to Glasgow (John Linton/PA)

Commons Leader Mr Rees-Mogg said on Tuesday that the modern precedent is for a new incumbent in Downing Street to go to the polls to seek a fresh mandate.

He told BBC’s Newsnight: “It is my view that we have moved, for better or worse, to essentially a presidential system and that therefore the mandate is personal rather than entirely party, and that any prime minister would be very well advised to seek a fresh mandate.”

Asked if Mr Johnson should resign as PM if there is a photograph of him at a drinks party in No 10, Mr Rees-Mogg urged people to wait for Ms Gray’s report to be published.

“Trying to speculate on bits of gossip and tittle-tattle around the report doesn’t really get us anywhere,” he said.

In the Commons, he added: “The reality is that the British elector looks to a leader, and it is very pleased with the leader that it has got.”

(PA Graphics)

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries was the second Cabinet minister to warn that deposing the Prime Minister could trigger a general election.

There is no requirement for a new leader to hold a general election, but Ms Dorries said previous handovers, such as Tony Blair to Gordon Brown, had taken place in “different times”.

Writing on Twitter, she said: “Blair as example of why we won’t need GE is wrong.

“It was yonks ago Blair to Brown smooth, pre announced handover, no leadership election.

“Brown was still pressured to go, bottled it and then lost. V different times pre rolling 24hr news / social media.”

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