The leader came under fire from the party left, who accused him of abandoning popular politics
Sir Keir Starmer insisted his approach was “pragmatic” rather than “ideological” and was part of a broader plan to ensure all Labor policies contribute to economic growth.
Labor has scrapped plans to nationalize energy and water companies and softened a promise to bring all rail networks into public ownership.
However, the leader came under fire from the party left, who accused him of abandoning popular politics.
The shift is part of the Labor leader’s focus on fiscal action and economic growth.
Sources in the party said any public ownership reform must fit within the party’s tax rules and offer the best value for customers – as opposed to adopting a “public ownership at all costs” plan.
During an economic policy speech in Liverpool, Sir Keir was asked directly about plans to nationalize rail, energy and water companies.
The question came after Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves previously said that blanket nationalization was inconsistent with the party’s new “tax rules” to control public spending.
He told reporters, “I’m going to be pragmatic rather than ideological, I agree with what Rachel Reeves said this morning.”
When he specifically pressed what that would mean for railroad companies, he was careful not to promise to make them all public property.
“My mission is growth and the underpinning of that mission is a partnership agreement with business where the mission is set by a new Labor government and we empower business to work with us to deliver on that mission,” he said.
Shadow Transport Minister Louise Haigh said I The party’s policy on public ownership is “clear” and Labor wants “to put the interests of rail travelers first and offer better value for both the public traveling and the taxpayer” – which is why they are in favor of public ownership the rail is used.
She also pointed to party lines arguing that any public property “requires a pragmatic approach that must fit our budgetary rules.”
Sir Keir was later forced to clarify and relate his position The mirror: “My priorities are growth and partnership. No ideological attachment to specific property models.
“Rail is probably different from the others because so much of our rail is already publicly owned. That’s what I mean by not being ideological. Pragmatically, that is the situation and will remain so for some time to come.”
The stance will put Sir Keir on a collision course with unions, with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) announcing on the same day that it supports public ownership of energy companies.
And it caused frustration on the left of the party when Labor MP Zarah Sultana tweeted: “Public ownership of rail, post, water and energy is very popular. It is also key to building a just, sustainable society. Supporting that should be a no-brainer for the Labor Party.”