Michael Gove launches savage attack on Keir Starmer with brutal Tony Blair jibe

Rishi Sunak responds to by-election results

Michael Gove launched a brutal attack on Sir Keir Starmer as he insisted Labour does not have the next general election in the bag.

The Levelling Up Secretary compared the Labour leader to Sir Tony Blair, after the pair took part in a joint event earlier this week. 

The Cabinet minister said the former and current Labour leader were like “a superstar and someone from a shabby tribute band”.

Mr Gove told The Telegraph: “Seeing Starmer and Blair on stage together this – I know this is a pretentious, Shakespearean quote – is like Hyperion and a satyr.

“It is like a superstar and someone from a shabby tribute band. It is like seeing Mick Jagger and someone from the Counterfeit Stones, as it were.”

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The senior Conservative insisted Sir Keir is not as popular as Sir Tony, who led Labour from 1994 to 2007 and won a landslide general election victory in 1997.

He said: “The British public in 1992 saw Neil Kinnock… hadn’t sealed the deal, they saw him assume that he was at that Sheffield rally on course for Number 10, and they said, no.

“In the same way I do not believe that the British public thinks that Keir Starmer is ready to be Prime Minister. It’s nothing like what it was in the 1990s.”

Sir Keir took part in a conversation with Sir Tony Blair at the Future of Britain conference last Tuesday. 

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It marked the first time they had shared a platform with one another since the Opposition leader was elected in 2020.

The former prime minister praised the Labour leader for the “amazing” work he had done to bring Labour “from the brink of extinction” in 2019 to the “brink of Government”.

Sir Tony said the economic picture Labour could potentially inherit after a likely general election next year was far more stark than in 1997 when he won a landslide.

The ex-Labour leader, whose global institute organised the conference, said: “I think we both agree that 1997 is very different to 2024.

“In 1997, we had a lot of things to do, but on the other hand, we could see that growth had stabilised and we could look forward to over 2 percent growth. What you are going to inherit next year, it is grim.”

Meanwhile, Sir Keir said that the “in-tray of the next Government will be like no other”.

Repurposing a slogan used by Sir Tony and New Labour, he said: “We need three things: growth, growth, growth.”

It comes as Labour overturned a Tory majority of around 20,000 to swipe Selby and Ainsty in Thursday’s by-election.

But Sir Keir’s party failed to take Boris Johnson’s former seat in Uxbridge and South Ruislip which has widely been blamed on London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s expansion of the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ).

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