Corbyn would have been better PM than Johnson, says Starmer

The Labour leader said that a landlord would not be able to get a final offer on rent from one possible tenant, then go to a second and ask them to bid something higher, and so on…reports Asian Lite News

Keir Starmer has said that Jeremy Corbyn would have made a better prime minister than Boris Johnson. The Labour leader made the comment in a special BBC Question Time programme in which he was pinned down over his past support for Corbyn.

Keir first refused five times to stand by his comment made in the run up to the 2019 election that Mr Corbyn, his predecessor as Labour leader, would have made a “great prime minister”.

But he eventually said: “He would be a better prime minister… look what we got, Boris Johnson, a man who made massive promises, didn’t keep them, and then had to leave parliament in disgrace.”

The comment is eye-catching since Keir has in recent years repeatedly distanced himself from Corbyn, a Left-winger who has since been forced out of the Labour Party. Corbyn is standing as an independent candidate at this election.

During the BBC programme, the Labour leader, who was booed as he entered the studio, claimed that too many homeowners were ‘ripping off’ their tenants. and he said they would be banned by law from accepting the highest offer of rent from potential tenants after “bidding wars”.

Keir said that landlords would not be allowed to go back and forth between potential tenants getting final offers, driving up the rent. He said that legislation would be tabled to bring about the change if Labour wins office, meaning that the new rules would be legally enforceable.

However, repeatedly pressed by Fiona Bruce, the BBC presenter, about how exactly the plan would work he gave few other details.

Keir said: “We have to stop the landlords ripping off tenants who are doing this bidding war: who’ll pay more until people are paying through the roof. We have to end that. We can pass legislation to say you can’t do it because it’s driving rents through the roof and it’s not fair. It’s taking advantage.”

On Thursday night, four political leaders were each grilled for 30 minutes on the BBC programme: Keir, Rishi Sunak, Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, and John Swinney, the SNP leader.

The Labour leader was also pinned down on the change in his position on trans issues, and faced criticism over his plans to apply VAT on private school fees. Describing his desire to bring in a law on how landlords can act in the rental market, Sir Keir said: “We can’t have this bidding war like this. We have to have a scheme in place to stop them driving rents up and up. Lots of renters are paying huge deposits and we have to stop that as well.”

The Labour leader said that a landlord would not be able to get a final offer on rent from one possible tenant, then go to a second and ask them to bid something higher, and so on.

The aim is to stop landlords from bounding tenants off each other in a way that artificially raises rents. But the full details of how the policy would work remains unclear.

Keir was challenged on his past support for Corbyn, the Left-wing Labour leader for the 2017 and 2019 election who has been forced out of the party.

At one point Bruce asked Keir to answer “yes or no” whether he was telling the truth when saying in the past that in 2019 Mr Corbyn would make a “great prime minister”.

Keir did not give a yes-no answer and the audience laughed. He defended his past position by saying: “In 2019 I campaigned for the Labour Party as I’ve always campaigned for the Labour Party. I wanted good colleagues returned to parliament.”

Keir also, after repeated pressing, admitted that NHS waiting lists may not return to normal years until five years into a Labour government.

The Labour leader at first declined to answer when asked at what time the public could know they would get an NHS appointment in under a month. Keir said “we will start the work on waiting lists on day one in government”, and later “we will get those operations going as quickly as we can with staff”.

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