‘A leopard can’t change its spots’ – Sir Keir Starmer criticised over ‘teenage dad’s military’ | Politics | News | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Sir Keir Starmer dodged questions over whether or not he supported the precept of nationwide service for kids.

The Labour chief, in his first keynote speech of the final election marketing campaign, mocked the coverage by branding it a “teenage dad’s army”.

But Sir Keir did not reply a query on whether or not there was “enthusiasm” amongst younger folks – together with his teenage son and his mates – about signing up for the scheme.

And he sidestepped whether or not or not he supported the precept of nationwide service, one thing the Government believes will assist teenagers out of their “bubble”.

He instructed reporters: “I do accept the proposition that we need strong defences, and that has to be the first duty of any government, but I think this plan is desperate.

“I don’t think it’ll work. You’ve seen what military experts have said about. You’ve seen what the Government said about it just a few days ago when they were asked, that it would take away from the resources of the military rather than help the military.”

But Tory MPs seized on the “teenage dad’s army comments” to spotlight how Sir Keir “has never taken defence seriously”.

Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer instructed the Daily Express: “A leopard can’t change its spots, he supported Jeremy Corbyn. He’s always sneered at my type.”

Rishi Sunak’s nationwide service scheme would come with very restricted exemptions from participation, and younger royals could be anticipated to participate.

Ministers would additionally think about the creation of fast-tracked routes for graduate schemes and the Civil Service for many who full the yr of National Service with the army.

The £2.5 billion coverage shouldn’t be anticipated to be totally applied till 2028-29 if the Tories win the election.

Sir Keir, talking in Lancing, West Sussex, made his pitch to the nation that he might be trusted with the nation’s funds, borders and safety.

He instructed activists: “The very foundation of any good government is economic security, border security, national security. Make no mistake – if the British people give us the opportunity to serve, then this is their core test. It is always their core test. The definition of service. Can you protect this country?

“I haven’t worked for four years on this, just to stop now.”

During the extremely private speech, the place the Labour chief spoke about his personal upbringing, Sir Keir mentioned “economic stability” is the bedrock of his plans.

He mentioned: “It wasn’t easy for us. My dad was a tool-maker. He worked in a factory – my Mum was a nurse.

“But for most of her life she had a debilitating illness, Still’s disease. To be honest, she would hate that word, ‘debilitating’, because mum never gave up, she never complained. But her illness did shape our lives.

“This was the 1970s of course, so there were hard times. I know what out of control inflation feels like, how the rising cost-of-living can make you scared of the postman coming down the path: “will he bring another bill we can’t afford?”

“We used to choose the phone bill because when it got cut off, it was always the easiest to do without. We didn’t have mobiles back then but you could still just about get on with it.

“Now, all this has stayed with me.”

The Labour chief additionally laughed off suggestion he’s too “weary” or lacks the stamina for a normal election marketing campaign.

The Conservatives on Sunday mentioned Sir Keir had been “resting at home” on Sunday, though photos later emerged of the opposition chief assembly voters in Brighton.

He mentioned: “I’ve had a smile on my face since January 1 2024 because I knew this was going to be an election year.

“I’ve wasted nine years of my life in opposition. I’ve worked four-and-a-half years to change this Labour Party, and now I’ve got the chance to take that to the country.

“So we’re doing that not only with energy, but with a smile, with positivity across all of our candidates as we go into this election.”

Sir Keir – in a thinly veiled swipe at Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure main the get together – mentioned “you cannot restore trust and respect with the politics of protest. “

He added: “Everything I have fought for has been shaped by my life, every change I have made to this party has been about this cause, the answer to that question, the only answer, the working people of this country delivering on their aspirations, earning their respect, serving their interests.

“I know those people are looking at this election, looking at me personally. So I make this promise: I will fight for you.”

And Sir Keir, who ran for Labour chief vowing to scrap tuition charges, refused to rule out rising them sooner or later.

He mentioned: “The current arrangements don’t work for students, and I don’t think they work for universities.

“We are looking at options to change the approach. Abolishing tuition fees is one option […] but now there’s been huge damage to the economy […] and difficult choices have to be made.

“We can’t abolish tuition fees and have 40,000 extra appointments every week in the NHS.

“At the moment we have to prioritise the NHS.”

The Labour chief can also be insisting he’s the one who will finish the Channel migrant disaster. He has vowed to beef up the legislation enforcement response – by means of the creation of a brand new Border Security Command – by giving officers counter-terrorism powers.

And he has vowed to scrap the Rwanda scheme, branding it a gimmick.

But 15 Europeans nations are pursuing third-country asylum offers.

Asked by the Daily Express in the event that they had been fallacious to take action, Sir Keir insisted: “I’m not against third-country processing.

“There is a difference between processing people at the point at where they are and simply deporting people.

“They are not wrong, but they are not actually proposing the Rwanda scheme.”

Richard Holden, Conservative Party Chairman, mentioned: “Once again Keir Starmer stood up to tell the country absolutely nothing. In this wearisome and rambling speech there was no policy, no substance, and no plan.

“The question remains: will Starmer ever find the courage and conviction to tell us what he would do, or does he simply not know?

“The choice is clear: stick with the plan that is working and take bold action for a safer, more secure future with Rishi Sunak or go back to square one with Labour.”

The Prime Minister’s modern-day model of National Service would contain faculty leavers both enrolling on a 12-month army placement or spending one weekend every month volunteering of their group.