Why is Gordon Brown leading on the cost of living – and not Keir Starmer?

Sir Keir Starmer has already proved his worth in this energy crisis, dictating government policy from the opposition benches in the House of Commons. He shamed Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak into legislating to impose a windfall tax on the oil and gas companies, which will help to pay for what Liz Truss, Mr Sunak’s rival for the succession, calls “handouts” to protect people from soaring gas and electricity bills.

So the Labour leader can be forgiven for missing his cue for the next stage of the response to the crisis. All politicians are entitled to their holidays, and indeed in normal times The Independent would argue that they should take more of them because then they are likely to make better decisions. But now is not a good time to be away, and it is just as well that Sir Keir is back on Friday, when he is expected to “start to” set out Labour’s plans for dealing with the cost of living crisis.

No doubt the Labour leader is grateful to Gordon Brown, his predecessor, who has chosen to interrupt the supporters of the Conservative leadership candidates insulting each other in public to go on a freelance mission to explain that crises “don’t take holidays”. Mr Brown may be right, and he is more right about image and public relations than about the substance.


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