On 07 May 2020, KeirStarmer said,“The U.K. has been struggling with its coronavirus response more than other countries partly because it was weakened by a decade’s worth of austerity measures”.
Speaking at a Q&A videoconference with people from Glasgow, Scotland, the new leader of the Labour Party said, “Ten years of austerity have put us in a place where we are not as resilient as we could have been in this crisis,” adding: “Austerity has done huge damage and we can’t go back to it.”
He said that since his wife works for the National Health Service, he knows that medical staff appreciate being applauded by the British people for their hard work during the crisis. “But what we can’t do is clap on a Thursday and then get back to business as usual.”
He added: “Just cutting away our public services has got to change … This crisis has exposed who the key workers really are and there is going to have to be a reckoning at the end of it.”
Asked about the disproportionately severe impact of the virus on the poorest regions, the Labour leader said: “We need to have impact assessments to understand why it’s happening.”
Given the scale of the public health emergency, Starmer said there should not yet be a relaxation of measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic. He said he is “trying to provide constructive opposition” to the government by supporting it “where that is the right thing to do.”
When asked how he intends to win back voters who had deserted Labour, Starmer said listening is essential. “Good leaders listen to what people are saying to them,” he said.