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The good ship Labour has sprung a leak – is there mutiny aboard?

Leak inquiries, candidate troubles, infighting and poll scares: now Keir Starmer is really being tested, writes John Rentoul

Thursday 15 February 2024 11:05 GMT
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All of a sudden, the long run of admiring reviews of Starmer have come to an end
All of a sudden, the long run of admiring reviews of Starmer have come to an end (PA)

Sue Gray, the former civil servant poached by Keir Starmer to be his chief of staff, was supposed to bring some of the discipline of running an actual government to Labour’s preparations for power.

But she has imported one of the more pointless rituals of government to the opposition: the leak inquiry. The Times reports that she interrogated Labour staff over the leak to The Guardian of the plan to ditch the £28bn-a-year green investment plan – and that some officials were left “in tears” by her alleged heavy-handedness.

It seems that the Labour Party is feeling the pressure of being a government in waiting. Not only is it springing leaks – and this is not the first inquiry that Starmer has ordered – but shadow cabinet members seem to be struggling to maintain public unity, while a second parliamentary candidate has been suspended and the party has taken fright at two opinion polls showing reduced Labour leads.

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