‘He’s our Gareth Southgate!’ BBC panel cringes after Labour MP compares Starmer to manager

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Dame Margaret Beckett clashed with Gal-Dem Political Editor Moya Lothian-Mclean after the journalist suggested many voters on the ground were turning their back on Sir Keir Starmer and ultimately the Labour Party as they struggled to understand what the party stood for. But Dame Beckett branded Ms Lothian-Mclean’s opinions as “fantasy politics” as the pair awkwardly clashed on Sir Keir’s ability. But the argument took a cringe-worthy turn when Dame Beckett compared Sir Keir to Gareth Southgate to which most of the BBC panel groaned at.

Speaking on BBC Politics Live, Dame Beckett responded against Ms Lothian-Mclean after she suggested many Labour voters were leaving the party solely because of Sir Keir. 

The MP told the programme: “This is fantasy politics, frankly, and is eminently predictable as there’s a little package of criticisms about Keir that have been coming from a particular sector of the party.

“And it’s just not in the real world.

“I mean to talk about the Batley and Spen by-election without talking about the absolutely poisonous impact of the campaign that George Galloway ran.

“And to see people who consider themselves to be on the left, whether I would consider them to be or not is another matter.

“Defending and associating themselves with George Galloway is profoundly shocking because there his whole campaign was absolutely poisonous.”

Ms Lothian-Mclean was confused why she was being attacked over George Galloway’s campaign despite not supporting him or mentioning him during her appearance.

She told Dame Beckett to “get back in the real world” which the Labour backbencher doubled down on her claims that Sir Kier’s unpopularity was “fantasy politics”. 

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When asked to clarify what Sir Keir stood for, an issue some voters have been confused over, Dame Beckett made a bizarre comparison which panellists audibly groaned at.

She said: “We know very clearly what Kier stands for and one of the things that I think would summarise it best is a phrase that I’ve heard him use more than once.

“Which is he wants to make this the best country to grow up in and the best country to grow old in and he’s talked about and about problems in education.

“But because of the pandemic, it hasn’t cut through.

“I’ll give you, if you want, I’ll give you a comparison that’s very germane to today.

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“In my opinion, Keir Starmer is our Gareth Southgate, he’s grown up, he’s living in the real world.”

Ms Lothian-Mclean could be heard saying “Oh christ” before Sun Political Editor Harry Cole said Sir Keir was more like “Ed Milliband with a law degree”.

Sir Keir has faced challenges to his leadership following the Hartlepool by-election which saw a previously strongly held Labour seat swing to the Conservatives. 

The Batley and Spen by-election saw Labour narrowly win by 323 seats in a constituency that had been strongly Labour since 1997. 

While Sir Keir may have created breathing room against his leadership, critics and even supporters of Sir Keir have called for him to take a more hardline stance on political issuea as many do not know what he stands for.

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