However, one political analyst has said the new Labour leader will have to tread a fine line in offering unflinching support to efforts to beat COVID-19 without being seen to too close to Conservative Party. Sir Keir was confirmed as outgoing leader Jeremy Corbyn’s successor, convincingly seeing off the challenge of both Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy as he took 56.2 per cent of the vote, winning majority support from MPs, trade unions, affiliate and members.
You know that the Government is going to find it very hard not to involve him
Professor Tony Travers
With Britain currently in lockdown, and the nation facing a common enemy in the shape of the disease, which emerged in Wuhan in China towards the end of last year, Mr Starmer’s measured, conciliatory tone so far has prompted Ladbrokes to offer odds of 3-1 on him joining a unity Government by the end of 2020.
Professor Tony Travers, director of LSE London, said Sir Keir, who was Director of Public Prosecutions before entering the political fray, would need to strike a balance between working with the Government and holding them the account.
He told Express.co.uk: “You know that the Government is going to find it very hard not to involve him, as William Hague is suggested today, in at least explain to him what they’re doing candidly.
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“And he’s the kind of person who I think, given he was DPP and held the high public office, the Government and security officials would trust to do that – which I suspect they probably wouldn’t have done with Jeremy Corbyn.”
Tempting as it might be for Mr Starmer to accept a place in Mr Johnson’s cabinet, Prof Travers said there were political risks for both sides.
He explained: “Most Conservatives don’t want a national unity government, I don’t think, but there might be a sort of halfway house option whereby they invite the new leader of the opposition in to see what’s going on.”
He also suggested the caustic criticism Mr Johnson has faced in recent days, not least over the slow pace of testing for frontline NHS staff, meant it would make sense for Mr Starmer to hold back.
He said: “I’m sure this criticism will feed through to public opinion quite fast so I suspect we’ll probably find that as a result of it, the government coming down from peak of its popularity at the beginning of this crisis.
“And with new, viable Labour leadership, the poll ratings are the more likely to get better for Labour than worse in the coming weeks.”
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The United Kingdom’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 20 percent to 4,313, up from 3,605 the day before.
Mr Johnson has written to opposition party leaders including newly-elected Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer inviting them to a briefing next week and insisting “we have a duty to work together at this moment of national emergency”.
Sir Keir has already discussed the situation with England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England.
Speaking after his election victory was confirmed, Mr Starmer said he had been elected “at a moment like no other”.
And he vowed “constructively” with the Government to confront the pandemic, adding that he would not engage in “opposition for opposition’s sake”.
However, he added: “We will shine a torch on critical issues and where we see mistakes or faltering government or things not happening as quickly as they should we’ll challenge that and call that out.
“Our purpose when we do that is the same as the government’s, to save lives and to protect our country.”
Ladbrokes also rate Sir Keir at 5-2 to be the UK’s next Prime Minister.
Spokesman Jessica O’Reilly said: “It’s a clear two-horse race between Starmer and Rishi Sunak to become the next PM, and it’s the new Labour leader who currently edges the betting.”
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