A New Start for Labour?

Yesterday Labour elected their new leader - their new shot at success, their new chance to ascend to power and their new talisman to the electorate.

But have they made the right choice?

Admittedly his political CV is very impressive. Sir Keir Starmer KCB QC has enjoyed considerable success up to this point, however politics and personal circumstances, although connected, are two very different things.

But Labour have to connect with their alienated, fractured base. Is their new leader, a privately-educated, multi-millionaire, knight of the realm, London-based Remainer, the right option?

This remains to be seen, but with 56.2% of the vote he looks forward to Tony Blair-level internal support at least.

Or does he?

When he was elected in 2007, Tony Blair won 57% of the vote - a very similar number on paper. Starmer also won more votes than Jeremy Corbyn in his 2015 leadership election. But with 508,148 votes, he won a significantly higher level of support amongst members - more votes than the total number of ballots this time round. These numbers somewhat debunk the myth of a mandate for change bigger than anything ever before, and put into context the style of the sweep to power of Starmer when compared to his predecessors.

Whatever his level of support, he has at least started off on a conciliatory footing. One of the first things he did was finally make an apology on behalf of the Labour party for the horrific anti-Semitism which has roared through the party in recent years. He has pledged to work with the government and end the McDonnell-led premise of opposition for opposition's sake, and already made the necessary Privy Council arrangements with Boris.

A promising start - hopefully this will continue.

But with a fresh new start for Labour, their Momentum ground force have had to adapt after seeing their preferred candidate lose out; a somewhat rare occurrence in recent years. But this may take some time, judging by their insistence only yesterday that Keir Starmer's mandate was to "Build on Jeremy's vision", as well as them pledging to "hold him to account" (God only knows what that means going off their deselection rampage of centrists before the last General election).

Their preferred deputy leadership candidate also lost out, with Richard Burgon coming third, and by a long way. Angela Rayner won more than double the votes of her nearest rival, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, in round three of the election for deputy leader, conducted under the Single Transferable Vote system.

Whatever you think of Angela Rayner, she certainly is different to Keir Starmer. Whether that is helpful remains to be seen. Personally, I think Labour have missed a trick with Dr Allin-Khan - she is a very impressive voice on the opposition benches.

Of whom the shadow cabinet will be made up remains to be seen, but this will be the biggest indicator of the new Labour leader's ambitions and will show very clearly the direction in which he will take the party. With Momentum's presence in the Labour NEC, sticking to his plans, whatever they may be, may be more difficult than he thinks.

Jack Rydeheard, Editor for Conservative Progress

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