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Keir Starmer compares himself to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for ‘turning around’ Labour Party

Labour leader suggested he and the football manager had both turned around brands which had seen better days

Kate Devlin
Politics and Whitehall Editor
Tuesday 06 February 2024 16:10 GMT
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle tells off Sunak before calling Starmer 'prime minister' again

Sir Keir Starmer has compared himself to the Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, suggesting they have both turned around brands which have seen better days.

The Labour leader said his party “lost its way” under previous leader Jeremy Corbyn but that it has been changed permanently under his leadership.

After defeating Liverpool at the weekend, Arteta said his team had turned a corner and were back in the race for the Premier League title.

Asked to pick which football manager he is most like, Sir Keir, a lifelong Arsenal fan, was quick to point to the Spaniard.

Speaking to Times Radio, he said: “That’s actually an easy one for me at the moment because I feel an affinity with Arteta, the Arsenal manager, because again, if you look at his journey, he was appointed, it was hard to turn that Arsenal team around.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (PA Wire)

“To start with, people said he can’t do it, there was talk about whether he should continue, and look what he’s done now.”

The Arsenal manager was seen high-fiving fans after Arsenal defeated Liverpool at the weekend.

It came as Sir Keir said £28bn is “desperately needed” to achieve clean power by 2030 amid confusion over the party’s commitment to the pledge.

The Labour leader insisted he had been “unwavering” when it came to the party’s green energy plans and denied it was “scaling back” policies as this year’s general election looms.

But he again insisted he would only spend the money if it was available under his party’s “fiscal rules”.

Sir Keir originally announced £28bn a year would be invested in sustainable projects if the party wins power but has since said the figure will instead be a target for the second half of a first parliament.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta celebrates after his side’s win over Liverpool (PA Wire)

Asked about the pledge in an interview aired on Tuesday, Sir Keir told Times Radio: “We’re going to need investment, that’s where the £28bn comes in. That investment is desperately needed for that mission.

“You can only understand the investment argument by understanding that we want to have clean power by 2030 ... We need to borrow to invest to do that.

“That’s a principle I believe in and I’m absolutely happy to go out and defend. And of course, what we’ve said as we’ve got closer to the operationalisation of this, is it has to be ramped up, the money has to be ramped up, the £28bn et cetera, and everything is subject to our fiscal rules.”

It comes after shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves last week promised “iron discipline” in sticking to Labour’s fiscal rules, which include getting debt falling as a percentage of GDP.

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